Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will buy charging-infrastructure Ubitricity, a German company that specializes in streetside charging for electric cars.
Ubitricity is probably best known for building charging stations into lampposts, including a project in the United Kingdom that added 24 charging stations along section of street in London. The company claims to operate the largest public charging network in the UK, with 2,700 stations and 13% market share. It also operates public charging stations in other European countries, as well as private charging sites for fleets.
Shell is already somewhat involved with EV charging, with approximately installed 1,000 charging stations at 430 gas stations globally, according to the company. It’s likely Shell sees Ubitricity as an opportunity both to get in on the charging game at a neighborhood level.
Charging stations integrated with existing structures like lampposts could be especially helpful in denser urban residential areas, where conventional charging options are few and far between, and the lack of off-street parking means residents can’t install charging stations for personal use.
Ubitricity electric-car charging cord
Just this week, a new MIT study found that the introduction of residential neighborhoods could make a significant difference in EV adoption.
Ubitricity has been working on its solution for many years, and back in 2015 introduced a system in which a mobile meter would be plugged between the car and the outlet, allowing energy to flow and permitting remote billing.
It’s not the only company that has followed such a model.
In 2017, ebee Smart Technologies began installing charging stations in lampposts on the streets of Lancaster, California. However, while Ubitricity builds everything into the lamppost, ebee simply attaches a complete charging station to the post.