In the UK, auto brands are beginning to contend with an electric future.
As part of Shell’s efforts to endorse clean motoring, the company is preparing to open a service station with only alternative fuels. The new “no-petrol” station, the first of its kind in the UK, will replace gas and diesel pumps with biofuels, hydrogen cell refueling, and electric vehicle charging units. Additionally, it will be powered by renewable energy from solar panels on the roof.
Plans are in the early stages, but The Telegraph reports that the station will open in central London next year. The shift to electric vehicles has been hastened by the UK government’s recently-announced ban on the sale of all new petrol and diesel cars after 2040. Motorists will be encouraged to switch to electric or hybrid vehicles as part of the Government’s Air Quality Plan, tackling air pollution, which a spokesman called “the biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK.” As the shift to electric cars accelerates, the threat to auto brands is quickly moving from hypothetical to the real.
Later this year, Shell will also launch high-speed electric charge points across its 400 service stations in the UK in partnership with Dutch energy provider Allego. “We see that people are willing to shift towards electric mobility,” said Anja van Niersen, chief executive of Allego. “But a lack of appropriate level of charging infrastructure and interoperable charging services is one of their main concerns…Shell now actively contributes in creating a reliable and open charging network.”
As we highlighted in our CES 2017 roundup, electric cars are a booming industry. This week Dyson confirmed plans for an all-electric car due in Britain in 2020. Nissan’s luxury vehicle arm Infiniti is reported to be launching a new electric car in 2018. Land Rover’s new electric ‘Road Rover’ vehicle is also expected to debut at the Los Angeles motor show in 2019.
By 2025, electric vehicle adoption is expected to make up 7.5% of global sales, a substantial increase from the 1% this year. This surge in uptake is driving innovation for new technology in this sector. Ford recently unveiled a wireless system that will let drivers in Europe ‘park and charge’ without a plug, and Renault is testing wireless charging technology by creating a road that charges the vehicle as it drives.
Electric cars are likely to find a new audience in the value conscious consumer, thanks to falling battery prices and the costs of complying with new fuel-efficiency standards. With the shift to electric now garnering support from governments as well, auto brands are showing great creativity in future-proofing their brands. With their ‘no-petrol’ service station, Shell is preparing itself and the UK for an electric automotive future.