Royal Dutch Shell is readying to buy electric-vehicle charging company Ubitricity as part of the oil titans ambition to become net zero on carbon by 2050. The acquisition will see the FTSE 100-listed energy giant expand into the thriving on-street EV charging market at a time when sales of electric cars are snowballing in Europe.
Ubitricity mans the biggest public EV charging network in the U.K. with more than 2,700 charge points—around 13% market share—while it also has expanding networks in Germany and France. It also supplies private charging points for electric vehicles users. The company, based in London and Berlin, installs charging points in existing street infrastructure that enable drivers without a private driveway to charge their vehicle.
The deal is expected to be completed later this year, when Ubitricity will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell. The energy company claimed it already had more than 1,000 charging points at 430 Shell retail sites as well as access to 185,000 third party charging stations, and added the move to buy Ubitricity would support drivers switching to lower-carbon transport.
The data show that drivers are beginning to get the picture, with Europe’s auto makers reporting soaring EV sales in 2020—a high point in an otherwise hectic year for the industry. Volkswagen mentioned earlier this month it delivered 212,000 electric cars worldwide in 2020, a 158% increase on the previous year. Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler sold more than 160,000, a 228% increase, while Renault doubled its European EV sales to 115,888 vehicles in 2020.