Daniel Susco
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Great Idea: Two Oil Companies Decide to Build Electric Chargers in Gas Stations

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The 2016 Mercedes-Benz B-Class Electric Ride gets 82 MPGe on a single charge

Want to hear a really good idea?

Royal Dutch Shell, the petroleum company, has started installing electric car chargers at its gas stations.

That is a great idea. What better place to install new vehicle refueling/charging infrastructure than in places where people are already used to refueling their vehicles?

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Want to hear something sad, though?

It’s only in Europe.

Sad baby face GIF


Actually, Shell is one of two oil companies that have announced the building of electric car chargers at fuel stations, the other being France’s Total. Shell has already been eyeing potential locations in the UK and the Netherlands, according to Shell exec John Abbott in an interview with the Financial Times.

Total, on the other hand, is thinking of a home-field approach, telling the Financial Times that it was “studying the viability” of locations in France.

This is one part of Shell’s gradual inching toward investments in alternative fuel sources, tacitly admitting that electric cars will eventually grow into a significant market force, albeit only admitting it slowly.

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As such, Shell sees setting up these chargers as a new business opportunity, and one that will help drive other sales as well. Abbott mentioned that while the cars were charging, maybe the drivers might “want to have a coffee or something to eat.

That sort of short-term lingering would be a serious plus for gas stations, since selling things other than gas is where the larger share of funds in an individual fuel station come from.

This news actually is coming slightly belatedly, as the interview with the Financial Times came a few weeks before the company announced with Toyota that it would be building some hydrogen refueling stations (although adding 7 stations to a nationwide network of 33 isn’t exactly driving new demand).

In any case, here’s hoping that this idea catches on. Given how widespread gas stations already are, that would make a charging network incredibly convenient.

News Sources: Green Car Reports, Financial Times (subscription required)