With hybrids and electric car sales on the up, it was only a matter of time before the oil giants would have to diversify and Shell is one of the first.
Shell has announced it will begin to install electric car charging points at petrol stations in the UK. The first stations will be opened at service stations in Greater London and Derby by the end of 2017. The Ranstad region in the Netherlands will also benefit.
Users can expect 50kW charging speeds, which is less than half of what Tesla's 120kW superchargers can do, but still considerably faster than a home charger. Porsche also offers 350kW charging speeds, but these only exist at its Berlin office and there are concerns over the effect on battery longevity.
Shell and electric car infrastructure company Allego have partnered to offer the electric car charging stations. Allego's mission is to ensure 'anyone, anywhere can charge their electric vehicles via a network of charge points' at an 'affordable' price.
“We are proud being a service partner for Shell and that we can contribute to the transition towards cleaner mobility. We are looking forward to support Shell in delivering excellent value to its customers," said Allego chief executive, Anja van Nierson.
She continued: "We see that people are willing to shift towards electric mobility. But a lack of appropriate level of charging infrastructure and interoperable charging services is one of their main concerns.
"Allego and Shell join forces by adding fast chargers at the right service stations. Shell now actively contributes in creating a reliable and open charging network. A network that is accessible for all EV drivers, despite the brand of the car."
The charging points will be compatible with CHAdeMO and CCS compatible electric cars, which means Tesla is catered for as well as the likes of the BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf.
It is currently unclear how many Shell petrol stations will end up with electric charging points, but the majority seems seem likely. If true, that would really help the charging infrastructure as there are 25,000 Shell-branded petrol stations worldwide.
Though at a speed disadvantage, the Shell electric car chargers will still be considerably faster than a home offering and will let drivers noticeably top up their battery in an hour, especially in the case of the 30kWh Nissan Leaf and other lower capacity electric cars.
You could argue Shell is being pushed into the move because the Government announced plans to introduce an 'Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill' that includes the mandatory installation of electric car chargers at motorway services and petrol stations across the UK. But sales of EVs will be a factor.
It is unclear how much Shell and Allego will charge for using the 50kW points. There is potential for the cost to be free, because getting people into a service station or petrol station and making them wait increases the likelihood of purchases made on other items and services such as coffee.
But Allego charging points already cost money, which means Shell may adopt its pricing, which varies from country to country and is said to be higher than its competitors in the UK.
The Government and electric charging point providers will need to be careful with pricing because you pay more for an electric and hybrid car knowing it will eventually offset the higher cost in reduced fuel bills. Too expensive and there is little point enduring the issues of range anxiety.
If anything is certain, Shell's adoption of electric car charging facilities will make its competitors follow suit, which will improve the UK charging network and that is good news for motorists who want to rely less on petrol and diesel.