Oil and gas giant Shell has announced it is acquiring electric vehicle (EV) charging company Ubitricity in a “significant step” for the EV market.

German-based Ubitricity operates electric vehicle charging networks in a number of European countries, including over 2,700 charge points in the UK. The company, one of the largest on-street charging companies in Europe, integrates its charging points into existing street infrastructure such as lamp posts and bollards in order to make EV charging more convenient for drivers.

According to Shell, the acquisition will boost its efforts to “support drivers as they switch to lower-carbon transport”. Shell already has over 1,000 ultra-fast and fast charging points at around 430 of its retail sites.

István Kapitány, executive vice president of Shell Global Mobility, said:

“Working with local authorities, we want to support the growing number of Shell customers who want to switch to an EV by making it as convenient as possible for them. On-street options such as the lamp post charging offered by Ubitricity will be key for those who live and work in cities or have limited access to off-street parking. Whether at home, at work or on-the-go, we want to provide our customers with accessible and affordable EV charging options so they can charge up no matter where they are.”

With the UK banning the sale of all new fossil fuel vehicles by 2030, energy companies such as Shell are under pressure to move into new areas of the market. The company aims to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

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By GlobalData

Subject to regulatory clearance, the deal is expected to be completed later this year. Once completed, Ubitricity is expected to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shell.

Oliver Shaw, CEO at software company Kalibrate said:

“Shell’s investment in Ubitricity, the UK’s biggest EV charging network, is a significant step for the market. However, the challenge remains making charging points universally accessible. Building an EV charging network doesn’t happen overnight; it will require a significant investment to make it possible and, more importantly, a deep understanding of where these charging points need to be placed to make EV ownership more appealing to all of society.”

Read More: Gridserve opens UK’s first electric-only forecourt.