Shakeup in the UK electric vehicle sector

26 January, 2021

Royal Dutch Shell has signalled its growing interest in the electric vehicle sector by announcing its plans to buy Ubitricity. Caroline Potter – VP Sustainability, Oakland Innovation – shares her thoughts on the implications of the firm's latest move.

Developments in electric vehicles continue to charge forward, with Royal Dutch Shell the latest oil and gas firm to signal its growing interest in the sector. The company this week (Monday, January 25) announced plans to buy Ubitricity, owner of the largest network of electric vehicle charging points in the UK. An increase of charging points is needed if the UK is to meet its goal of phasing out fossil fuel powered cars by 2030. Shell’s latest move is a particularly interesting development which has the potential to help achieve this ambitious milestone and is another sign of the company adapting its business for a low-carbon future. Solutions for ‘range anxiety’ – the fear of running out of power before reaching your destination – already in development promise even greater flexibility for future generations of electric vehicles. One such development, in-road charging, powers electric vehicles as they drive along specially adapted stretches of ‘smartroad’, using wireless power transfer technology similar to that found in modern smartphones – imagine never having  to leave your car to refuel it! While this inductive power technology is still a fair way off becoming a commercial reality for road vehicles, it’s already available for submersibles.  Our sister company, OTM Consulting, is driving innovation in this area through our SWiG network, developing standards for subsea wireless communications and SWiGinductive power. Inductive power offers one vision for the future of electric vehicles and is just one of many technologies that may change the face of mobility.

  • Caroline Potter, VP Sustainability, Sagentia


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