Shell and Total plan electric charging at service stations, but BP’s Aral pushes back
The UK government has said that it wants to 'ensure there is provision of electric charge points' at large fuel retailers. Oil giant Shell has said it will install charging points at petrol stations in the UK and the Netherlands, and rival Total has said it will do the same in France.
However, Aral, part of oil giant BP and the largest petrol station chain in Germany with 2,500 service stations, is much less enthusiastic about installing electric charging at its own stations.
Wolfgang Langhoff, chief financial officer and board member of Aral parent BP Europa, even questions whether electric vehicle technology will succeed. He told Berliner Morgenpost: ‘it is not yet foreseeable that electromobility will prevail in the near future.’
Langhoff did not see any economic reason to install electric charging points at petrol stations on the Aral network at the moment. He said: ‘At the moment, we do not see an economic concept that holds up for us. Of the 45 million passenger cars in Germany, only 36,000 are pure electric cars and barely 200,000 are hybrids. That is still very few.’
He added: ‘Electricity is not our business. And petrol stations usually have little space to [allocate to] recharg[ing].’
This is consistent with the wildly different views between Shell and BP over when oil demand is set to peak, with Shell talking about as soon as five years’ time and BP (which is routinely criticised for being conservative with its predictions) saying oil demand is unlikely to peak until the mid-2040s.
However, what also may be a factor is the slow uptake of EVs in Germany, which at 25,214 registrations in 2016 was only 68% of the sales in the UK at 36,917 units, despite the UK being a smaller market. Only 0.8% of new cars registered in Germany in 2016 were EVs, compared to 1.4% in the UK. EVs have been struggling to spark interest in Germany, due to factors including range anxiety and a lack of charging infrastructure.
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