Shell is shedding some gas stations in favor of EV charging

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Shell plans to eliminate some of its current gas stations while putting further emphasis on EV charging.

“We are upgrading our retail network, with expanded electric vehicle charging and convenience offers, in response to changing customer needs,” Shell said in its 2024 Energy Transition Strategy report (via Yahoo! Finance). That includes plans to “divest around 500 Shell-owned sites (including joint ventures) a year in 2024 and 2025.”

The divestments will shrink Shell’s footprint by 2.1%, according to Yahoo! Finance, which notes that the company operated 47,000 locations in 2023.

Shell charging station in Britain (higher res)

Shell also said that it plans to expand the number of EV chargers it operates from 54,000 today to 200,000 by 2030. Expansion will initially focus on China and Europe, where Shell believes demand for charging is stronger due to more mature EV markets. The company said it will look for new locations, as well as expand some existing sites, to accommodate more chargers.

EV chargers at least offer a bit more flexibility when it comes to location, as they don’t require onsite storage and dispensation of flammable liquids. That’s rankled legislators in at least one U.S. state. Kentucky lawmakers have introduced a bill that would prevent EV chargers from being allowed where gas stations aren’t.

Shell currently has approximately 3,700 charging sites in the U.S., including some from the Volta network the company bought last year. BMW recently announced the inclusion of Shell’s chargers in its official ecosystem—including chargers from Greenlots, which Shell also bought several years ago.

Volta charging

Volta charging

Rival BP in October announced that it was ordering $100 million of Tesla chargers for gas stations and more, and it’s said, at least in a U.K. context, that fast chargers are almost as profitable as gas pumps

As EVs continue to grow market share, it makes sense for gas-station operators to take a closer look at EV charging. While there’s some debate about whether future EV charging sites should have a similar form factor to gas stations, a recent study did find that EV drivers still want gas-station perks at charging stops.

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