Shell has officially opened its first EV-only charging hub, in a global pilot that has seen the company transform a traditional fuel forecourt in Fulham to a flagship format on the road to net zero.
The site at Fulham Road in South West London features nine high-powered, ultra-rapid 175kW chargepoints which can charge most electric vehicles from 0-80% in as little as ten minutes.
It also features a sustainable design including a timber canopy with built-in solar panels, and roof and shop windows that use double glazing with high insulating properties. All the chargers are run on 100% certified renewable electricity.
A bright and spacious mini Waitrose, Costa Coffee cafe, modern toilets and free WiFi mean there’s plenty to occupy customers as they wait for their vehicles to charge. Digital signage at the entrance keeps motorists informed as to the availability and location of charging posts before they drive in.
The site was certainly buzzing on open day with lots of customers - including several taxi drivers, who have bemoaned the lack of charging facilities in London - taking advantage of the fabulous new facilities.
The site has been in development since 2019, but has been subject to various delays, not the least being Covid. It finally opened for business just before Christmas 2020.
“I feel elated, the team are elated,” said a very happy Bernie Williamson, Shell UK’s general manager, retail.
”We’re so happy to have this site finally ready after a huge amount of hard work from everybody, including our partners that we work with. Last year was a tough year, starting with Covid and ending with the fuel panic-buying crisis, so this site being open has just given us all a really big lift of what the future could hold.
“The site has been two years in the making, we completely razed the old site to the ground,” she explained. “The whole infrastructure of getting the power upgrades and getting the planning permission was disrupted by Covid and we had to adapt to planning requirements along the way. For example, the shop was going to originally be two storeys but that had to change for planning reasons.
”Overall though, the design is as intended and we’re really pleased with it. We wanted something fresh, and that made you think about service stations differently. It feels big even though it’s in London, it feels like a nice and spacious place to be, as well with the natural-style fit-out,” she continued.
“It’s a low-carbon design, a low-carbon construction,” explained Bernie. “The glass has thermal properties to help insulate in winter but cool in the summer; the canopy is made of glue-laminate which is more carbon friendly than steel; and we have solar panels on the canopy roof and the store roof which provides about 50% of energy to the store. The other half comes from renewable energy sources.”
Istvan Kapitany, Shell’s global executive vice president for Mobility, said: “EV drivers are looking for a charging experience that is as fast, convenient and comfortable as possible. This is exactly what Shell Fulham aims to offer. It joins our growing network of Shell Recharge sites at forecourts and other locations, our ubitricity on-street charging network, and our Shell Recharge Solutions for homes and businesses as we increasingly help EV drivers to charge wherever they need it. It also gives us all a glimpse into the future of mobility.”
Transport minister Trudy Harrison commented: “It’s fantastic to see Shell leading the way with their brand-new charging hub, offering EV drivers an easy and rapid charging experience. With more people making the switch to EVs than ever before, this is exactly the type of facility we need to help make the transition as simple as possible for drivers up and down the country. This Government has committed £2.5bn to vehicle grants and infrastructure to support the switch to EVs. In addition to Government efforts, it is equally encouraging to see businesses support the EV transition – and Shell’s new hub is a brilliant example of the UK’s huge effort to go-green and reach our important net-zero targets.”