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Shell turned an old UK petrol station into an EV-only charging hub with free WiFi and solar panels

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Shell Recharge in Fulham, London, opened in January 2022.
  • Oil giant Shell converted one of its petrol stations into an EV-only charging hub.
  • It features nine charge points, a supermarket, a coffee shop, and free WiFi.
  • Shell said it's the first time it has converted one of its old gas stations in this way.
  • For more stories visit www.BusinessInsider.co.za

You won't find any fossil fuel-powered cars filling up at Shell's old petrol station on Fulham Road, London, UK.

What was once a run-of-the-mill petrol station is now something rather different. Shell has converted the site into a charging hub exclusively for electric vehicles (EVs).

The Shell Recharge station opened in January 2022. According to Shell, it's the first time it has converted one of its existing petrol stations into an EV-only charging hub.

Demand for new EVs is outpacing charging infrastructure. Some 190,000 new EVs were registered in the UK in 2021, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – yet there are just under 29,000 EV charging points in the UK, according to ZapMap, whose figures are cited by the UK government. 

Campaigners say the mismatch could hinder the mass adoption of EVs, making it hard for the government to meet its goal of phasing out sales of new fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030. President Joe Biden wants EVs to represent half of US new car sales by the same year.

So companies including Shell are investing to meet EV demand.

Shell's old Fulham Road gas station was pretty run-of-the-mill

Google Street View image taken in October 2020.

It's been updated with tall wooden canopies fitted with solar panels

Stephen Jones

A digital sign shows drivers which charging bays are occupied and which are available

Stephen Jones, Business Insider

Another sign directs fossil fuel-powered vehicles to the nearest gas station

Stephen Jones

It's pretty clear who's allowed in the charging bays

Stephen Jones

Shell Recharge features a Costa coffee shop, Waitrose grocery store, and free WiFi

Stephen Jones

Shell Recharge has nine rapid, 175-kW charging points and two parking spaces. Drivers can make use of free WiFi, grab a coffee, or go grocery shopping while they wait for their car to charge.

The charging bays are already being used by EV drivers

Stephen Jones

One customer, Rebecca, who was drinking coffee while waiting for her rental Renault Zoe E-Tech Electric car to charge, told Insider that Shell Recharge was easy to use. 

"It's idiot-proof, you just tap and go," she said – but admitted it wasn't as quick as a filling up a regular car. 

About 14 minutes after arriving on nearly 0% charge, Rebecca's car was at 38%.  

"You have to plan your time," she said. But with fuel prices in the UK at a record high, she added: "Why would I want to go out of my way to spend more money?"

Rebecca told Insider she'd spend around £8 (R164,17) on her charge.

Drivers pay for their electricity on the Shell Recharge app or card, via contactless payment, or using a QR code. Shell charges £0.49 (R10.06) per kWh.

Stephen Jones

Drivers are kept updated on the progress of their recharge

Stephen Jones

Shell said it wants to install 50,000 EV charging points across the UK by 2025.

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