Shell Energy promotes affordable EV home charging
Shell Energy have introduced some extras to make life even easier for electric vehicle (EV) drivers and encourage more people to make the switch from their old-fashioned fossil fuel guzzlers. Selectra takes a look at the new offers.
Why is Shell Energy promoting EV home charging?
Shell Energy’s market research team reckon that a “tipping point” has been reached among British drivers with 70% “considering” an EV as an option for their next vehicle according to a survey carried out by the energy supplier.
The uptick in interest follows a recent announcement that the government is debating introducing a ban on the sale of new petrol, diesel and hybrid cars in 2035, five years earlier than planned.
With emissions from road vehicles accounting for 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions, taking petrol and diesel cars off the road would make a considerable dent in the national carbon budget.
Colin Crooks, CEO of Shell Energy Retail, said that the company’s research shows public support for bringing forward the ban but also highlights the fact that the reality of owning and driving an EV is still a bit of a mystery for many.
“It shows a big shift in the level of consideration for an EV as a next car but that there is a lack of understanding, particularly around how they are charged and potential impact on energy bills,” he said.
“At Shell we want to help this transition by making it easier for customers to choose an EV, with confidence in their ability to charge both at home and on the go.”
Why are people considering switching to EVs?
The lack of noise from the battery-powered vehicles appealed to 75% of Shell Energy survey respondents and for 56%, cheaper fuel costs was seen as an advantage.
The looming ban had prompted 55% to consider buying an EV and 50% thought such a purchase would set a good example to their children.
The survey found that 80% of people who would think about buying an EV wanted to “do their bit for the planet.”
Of course, moving to an electric car won’t do a whole lot for the environment if the energy charging the battery is coming from gas or coal-fired power plants.
Shell Energy boasts that their tariff supplies 100% renewable energy. While that may be strictly to the letter of Ofgem’s regulations, it’s not the whole story.
When Shell bought First Utility and renamed it Shell Energy, the reported energy mix supplied to 700,000 customers was rapidly switched from using 3.7% renewable energy to being branded 100% renewable without any announcements of deals between Shell Energy and renewable energy producers.
A loophole in Ofgem regulations means suppliers can offer “100% renewable” tariffs without buying any new energy from renewable generators. Scottish Power has recently taken aim at this sort of greenwashing.
What stops people buying an EV?
People still have concerns about making such a commitment when it comes to something as essential as their personal means of transport.
The primary factor dissuading people remains the cost of buying a new EV, with 80% of people mentioning this as an issue.
Although the government’s “plug-in car grant” is ending this year, the price of EVs will no doubt continue to fall and, as the deadline for the ban approaches, the supply of affordable battery technology should continue to increase to meet the demand.
Overall, an electric car should be cheaper to run than a petrol or diesel vehicle.
With fewer moving parts, there are fewer things that can go wrong and so your local mechanic should see a lot less of you. The batteries also last a good few years before needing to be replaced.
Even better, electric cars under £40,000 are also exempt from road tax and EV drivers in London don’t have to pay the capital’s congestion charge.
However, that still leaves some big questions about running an EV for many people.
Does EV home charging put you off buying an electric vehicle?
Charging an electric car is a concern for 38% of those surveyed, who said they didn’t know how it worked.
Shell Energy customers can take advantage of a 24-hour seven-days-a-week EV helpdesk to find out the essentials of EV home charging and get answers to any other questions.
For 62% of respondents, the thought of higher electricity bills was an issue when it came to considering going for an electric car.
To appeal to these potential customers, Shell’s tariff now comes with 2,000 miles worth of charge for a year delivered in the form of a £6.67 monthly credit to your Shell Energy account.
The cost of a charge is averaged at 4p per mile, making topping up your electric vehicle much cheaper than it is for a traditional one.
While EV home charging will add to your energy bill, smart charging systems let you program your charging to happen at off-peak hours allowing you to take advantage of cheaper rates when energy demand is low.
EV drivers taking up Shell Energy’s offer are currently able to order the installation of a home smart-charger for £299, that’s 14% less than the usual price of £349.
And for the 59% of people who thought home charging their EV would take too long, the provider said their NewMotion charge point delivers 7kW of power and can charge a typical EV in as little as five hours.
Is EV infrastructure advanced enough?
Customers can also access 2,000 public charge points in the UK along with 135,000 across Europe using the Shell Recharge app.
The domestic supplier’s parent company is currently upping the number of chargepoints on Shell forecourts, with a target of 200 installations by the end of the year.
For EV drivers on the go these chargers can rate up to 150kW and can boost a battery to 80% in just 10 minutes.
Increasing the amount of charge points is a key factor in reducing the range anxiety that can put people off the idea of buying an EV.
There are electric cars available which are designed to cover up to 250 miles on a full battery in ideal conditions, but realistically the current range you should expect to drive without recharging is about 100 miles.
A £400m investment fund has been set up by the government to speed up the construction of the UK’s EV infrastructure. There are now almost 600 charge points for every 100km of road compared to just 42 in 2011.
The government is also tackling the problem of incompatible charging systems to increase the number available to everybody.
Range anxiety shouldn’t really be a concern for most people, especially city dwellers.
For the normal routine of driving to work, back home, going shopping or running other errands the 100 mile range isn't going to be a problem.
If you’re making trips further afield, a quick look at Open Charge Map or Zap-Map should let you plan your journey successfully.
What does Jodie Kidd think about EVs?
Shell Energy brought in racing driver and fashion model Jodie Kidd to add some gravitas to their EV promotion. The Maserati Trofeo Pro-Am winner and Gumball 3000 driver said she already “felt the benefit of having an electric vehicle.”
“It is marvellous to see that over two-thirds of the country are now considering buying electric – but we really need to do more to bust the misconceptions that still linger and put some off,” she said.