The big oil and gas corporation Shell, recently made a significant investment to acquire Volta, a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Volta has over 3,000 charging stations in operation across the United States and Europe. The value for the purchase went up to $169 million. This acquisition is the second time Shell has invested in a charging company. Previously Shell purchased Greenlots in 2019. Now, with the addition of Volta’s charging stations, Shell will operate a total of over 57,000 charging stations.
Shell’s recent takeover of Volta was only possible due to Volta’s financial struggles over the past year. This allowed Shell to purchase the network at a favorable price. Currently, the most of Volta’s charging stations offer free charging for up to half an hour. Despite Shell’s significant investment, the company has stated that it has no immediate plans to change this policy.
“While the EV infrastructure market opportunity is potentially enormous, Volta’s ability to capture it independently, in challenging market conditions and with ongoing capital constraints, was limited.”Vince Cubbage, Interim CEO of Volta, in a statement, justified the decision to sell the company to the oil giant.
Shell, a major player in the fossil fuel industry, is positioning itself to capitalize on the shift away from gas-powered vehicles by aiming to operate half a million EV charging stations by the end of 2025. However, it remains to be seen if their policy on free charging will be changed in the future.
While it is positive that Shell is expanding its offerings to include low-emission options, such as electric vehicle charging stations, the company is still far from achieving its stated goal of producing net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Despite this, internal PR documents indicate that Shell does not have plans in place to make significant changes to reach this target.
Whether or not Shell is genuinely committed to a sustainable future for transportation or if this acquisition of Volta is simply a strategic move to improve the company’s image, it is clear that the purchase of Volta is poised to have a major impact on the EV charging industry for years to come.