Around these parts, and in most locations across the country, some fuel stations are busying themselves with squeezing a couple of EV charging stations along the perimeter of their property to supplement the gas and diesel pumps already in existence. Across the pond, one conglomerate is taking things a step further in some areas, planning wholesale changes in which they swap pumps for plugs.
Shell UK is calling them EV charging hubs, stations that look suspiciously like a traditional fuel stop and convenience store but with Level 3 chargers in place of traditional gas pumps. This rendering is of a spot in Fulham, central London, where such a conversion is currently underway. When complete, it will feature 10 high-powered, 175kW charge points. These brutes can deliver power many times faster than the typical 50kW Level 3 chargers, which can typically charge a compatible EV from nearly flat to about 80 percent in roughly 30 or 45 minutes.
Retaining the traditional corner store aspect of the equation helps in a couple of ways. First, anyone who’s ever run a fuel station knows the sale of gasoline actually provides a frighteningly small portion of business profits. A small shop permits the purchase of revenue-laden items like snacks and drinks. Second, Shell says there will be a lounge customers can use while waiting for their car to juice itself, providing a comfortable spot in which to wheedle the time and an opportunity for impulse shopping. There will be the typical roadside facilities like a coffee shop.
Hauling one’s EV underneath an expansive canopy (topped with solar panels, natch) beats the tar out of finding a charging port in the back of a gas station by the dumpsters. As all-electric trucks enter the markets – not in the UK, but here – this type of roll-thru design also solves the problem of charging an EV pickup with a trailer in tow.
No, this isn’t going to work everywhere – especially in America where driving distances are often long particularly when compared to the typical UK road trip. However, a case could be made for this type of conversion in some city centers, where the EV take rate is higher and many vehicles are simply used for commutes or maybe the scattered road trip. Hard to believe, I know, but not everyone is like TTAC authors and readers who’ll gladly take on a cross-country drive at the drop of a hat.
Planning permission for the hub was given in Q1 of last year. Shell aims to have the place open for business before this summer rolls around.
[Image: Shell UK]
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