Can EV charging hubs save fuel stations or is it too late?

Can EV charging hubs save fuel stations or is it too late?
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Michael Colijn believes that the conversion of gasoline and diesel fuel stations into EV charging hubs signals a paradigm shift in the mobility sector

Since 2020, more than 5,000 gasoline and diesel fuelling stations have closed in the UK, signalling the coming of a paradigm shift. With Shell’s recent conversion of its Fulham fuelling station to the first-of-its-kind electric charging hub, forecourts and retailers have some serious questions to address if they want to continue to compete.

Will this be a new avenue for forecourts and retailers to reduce emission goals? Can consumers be assured that their vehicles will be charged in a convenient and comfortable manner? Or will this be the future of mobility?

90% of drivers who made the switch to electric vehicles (EVs) are finding no desire to turn back to their environmentally damaging vehicles. Not to mention, there has been a 110% rise in UK drivers buying EVs between 2020 and 2021. Similar growth is also seen in other markets. The evidence points towards an electrified future, one that suggests this could be the beginning of the end for traditional fuel stations.

Can charging hubs lower carbon footprints?

A charging hub is a public station solely designed for rapid electric charging. Typically using rapid chargers ranging at 175kW, it takes ten minutes for an EV to be charged from 0 to 80% as seen in Shell’s charging hub. They can be built as standalone stations or on existing fuel station premises similar to Shell’s. To the other forecourts wondering whether charging hubs are the answers to their emission reduction aspirations, the answer lies in the facts.

Shell Recharge London
The Shell Recharge hub at Fulham Road in London features nine ultra-rapid charge points along with the chance to pick up essential groceries or a coffee

As it stands, the UK government has invested £1.2bn (US$1.6bn) in the rollout of rapid EV charging hubs and local EV charging infrastructure. Though this may seem like a blessing, Ofgem predicts that EVs and vans will need 50-60 TWh of energy annually by 2050, an increase of 20-30% in comparison to 2021. This would mean more than just investments are needed. Physical assets in the energy and land use system are now imperative to neutralise that supply and meet decarbonising goals.

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