Shell has bought NewMotion, the owner of one of Europe’s largest electric car charging networks, to give its alternative fuels efforts a jolt.
Shell will buy the Dutch firm to complement its plans for fast-charging points on service station forecourts.
Part of NewMotion’s business is selling home charging points for electric cars, which tend to charge more slowly.
In August the National Grid said there could be 26 million electric vehicles (EVs) on UK roads by 2050.
Matthew Tipper, Shell’s vice-president for new fuels, said the announcement was an early step towards ensuring customers had access to a range of refuelling choices in the future.
NewMotion runs about 30,000 private electric charge points in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK.
It also provides access to some 50,000 public charge points in 25 countries in Europe for more than 100,000 customers.
The company, which has about 1,000 UK customers, will retain its brand identity, Shell said.
“We are very pleased to have such a strong investor that fully supports our mission, enabling us to further expand across Europe at a time when the transition to electric vehicles is gathering pace,” said NewMotion chief executive Sytse Zuidema.
Shell will install the first electric car charging points at some service stations before the end of the year. Some will offer drivers an 80% charge in just 30 minutes.
Major car manufacturers are increasingly plugging into the EV market.
Volkswagen, the world’s biggest carmaker, will offer an electric version of all its 300 models by 2030.
Mercedes-Benz has also promised electric versions of all its cars.
Harald Krueger, chief executive of BMW, has said that EVs are “not just hype – this is the long-term trend”.
BMW recently unveiled its first electric Mini, which will be assembled in Oxford and go on sale in 2019.
Giving impetus to these plans, a growing number of countries are announcing plans to ban new diesel and petrol cars.
China, the world’s biggest car market, has signalled a such a move.
The UK has followed France by announcing plans to ban new diesel and petrol vehicles by 2040, as part of efforts to reduce pollution and carbon emissions.