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Shell’s Move into the EV Industry: The $169 Million Purchase of Volta

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Shell, a major oil and gas corporation, recently made a significant investment by acquiring Volta, a leading provider of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. With over 3,000 charging stations in operation across the United States and Europe, the all-cash purchase of Volta cost Shell $169 million. This acquisition marks the second time Shell has invested in a charging company, having previously purchased Greenlots in 2019. With the addition of Volta’s charging stations, Shell now operates a total of over 57,000 charging stations.

Shell’s recent acquisition of Volta, a company that operates a network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, was made possible by Volta’s financial struggles over the past year. This allowed Shell to purchase the network at a favorable price. Currently, the majority 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.

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