Shell has acquired the EV charging network Volta charge, which could massively expand the Shell Recharge network in the United States.
While Shell is well known in the U.S. for its line of gas stations, it is less known for its EV charging network, Shell Recharge. Currently, Shell Recharge is more commonly found in the U.K. and Europe, but with a recent deal, that might be changing. Shell has acquired the U.S.-based charging network Volta Charge to catch the wave of demand for EV charging in North America.
According to the press release from Shell Recharge, Volta Charge was acquired for $169 million, whereby Shell acquired all the company’s outstanding stock. However, no details regarding the integration of the charging network were shared.
Volta Charge has the highest concentration of its chargers in California, Texas, and Illinois, with metro areas being the main focus of the company. In total, Volta operates 990 locations in North America, covering 399 cities. The company is also one of many that have attempted to make charging as cheap as possible by selling “billboard space” on each of its chargers. Nonetheless, Volta’s network is dwarfed by the Shell Recharge network, which, through the backing of the oil giant, has quickly expanded to 54,000 “charge points” in North America across countless locations.
The Volta Charge acquisition is part of a much larger strategy Shell has employed for expansion over the past 2-3 years. The company has become a headline sponsor of EV events such as the Formula E Grand Prix in New York, it has made over a dozen partnerships with other charging networks, and on top of all that, Shell has acquired smaller charging networks, including Ubitricity in Europe, and now Volta in North America.
However, this expansion isn’t without competition. Fellow gas company BP has started an EV charging network of its own, BP Pulse, and now countless automakers are looking to enter the mix following the likes of Tesla. This has most recently included Mercedes, who promised to bring 10,000 locations to North America, Europe, and Asia in the coming years.
Acquisition will likely become a standard tool as larger EV charging networks look to grow their presence in major markets in the coming years. And with the growing demand for EV charging, it’s understandable why investors are flocking to the opportunity. However, it remains unclear if any newcomers will be able to challenge the size and notoriety of the Tesla Supercharger network soon.
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