Major oil company Shell is getting into the electric vehicle (EV) charging game.
According to Reuters, Shell has signed an agreement with a joint venture named IONITY, which includes BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen. Together, the companies will bring EV charging infrastructure to 80 European highway sites in 2019.
There is no indication as of yet whether the joint venture will go beyond Europe this project. However, IONITY is also aiming for 400 European charging stations by 2020 in what it calls a "pan-European network."
“The first pan-European HPC network plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles,” said Michael Hajesch, IONITY CEO.
Shell stated the goal of the project is to help overcome "range anxiety," which has proven to be a barrier for motorists to adopt EVs. The company hopes to fully charge a 350-kilowatt EV in 5 to 8 minutes. IONITY states these charging stations will be about 75 miles apart.
Questions have lingered regarding how oil companies will evolve to support a growing EV market. The plan for Shell appears to be to implement charging stations in existing fueling stations. For instance, according to Istvan Kapitany, Shell's head of retail, the oil company will add 20 charging stations in Germany, meaning one-quarter of Shell's existing gas stations along European highways will have EV charging capabilities in two years.
Shell isn't the first oil company to broach the market. For instance, in August, BP said it was working with EV manufacturers on charging infrastructure.
Oil companies investing in EV infrastructure suggests acclimation to a changing global vehicle market. For these companies' parts, it appears they plan to evolve to a market that seems will inevitably change.