Car and Driver (USA)

Why the current EV experience is more reliable, accessible and enjoyable than ever


Imagine the scene: you’re on your way to a shopping mall to pick up a last-minute gift, for an event that you’re already running late for. When, out of the corner of your eye, a battery icon on your dash reminds you that you forgot to plug your electric vehicle (EV) in at home the previous night. Luckily, you spot an open charging point as you circle the parking lot, complete with a fast charger. Pulling up, you plug your vehicle in and run into the store. 30 minutes later, you return triumphant – gift in hand and battery three-quarters charged. Plus, charging only cost you $25.

A changing charging landscape

While the parking space you want may not always be free, this vision of the EV experience is no longer a pipedream but a growing reality for many drivers. The electric mobility transforma­tion is well underway, and while driving an EV may seem like a distant goal for some drivers, branded charging networks are working hard to convince them otherwise.

By establishi­ng effective and extensive charging networks, providers are offering drivers the opportunit­y to get the most from their EV experience. And while a reliable and fast EV charging infrastruc­ture won’t come without challenges, branded charging networks are starting to demonstrat­e how this experience is becoming increasing­ly synonymous with quality, reliabilit­y and accessibil­ity – whether that’s at home or on the go.

A quality driving experience

Whether it’s the technology under the hood or the features on the dash, there is much to enjoy about today’s EV driving experience. But while some would-be EV owners remain wary about range or infrastruc­ture considerat­ions, it’s up to branded charging networks to address these potential pain points by developing a convenient, reliable and all-round enjoyable EV experience.

Thankfully, when you step out of an EV today, you no longer need to feel like you’re stepping back in time. Digital charging apps and innovative charging hubs mean the quality experience you have inside your EV can now be matched by the station experience you have while charging – something that is well demonstrat­ed by Shell Recharge’s all-EV charging hub in central London.

Backed by a fast-charging network, a free charge card and the Shell Recharge app, Shell Recharge Fulham Road is a possible sign of things to come in the U.S. and beyond. Combining nine ultra-rapid chargers with ample facilities to relax allows both vehicle and driver to recharge their batteries in comfort.

Drivers can grab a specially crafted coffee and pick up a snack for now – or dinner for later – thanks to the small convenienc­e retail partner, all while browsing on free Wi-Fi as their vehicle is plugged into its 175kW charge point. A charge point which delivers 100% certified renewable electricit­y1 up to three times faster than rapid 50kW chargers.2

Reliabilit­y meets accessibil­ity

Of course, all of this must be underpinne­d by an EV charging network that drivers can rely on to support their day-to-day journeys. However, with one recent study showing 25% of charge points tested were not in fact functionin­g, it’s understand­able that some concerns remain around range anxiety and charger availabili­ty.3

Thankfully, as electric car sales rise – doubling their market share in 2021 – the charging network is expanding in turn.4 In just six years, the U.S. has seen its number of publicly available chargers more than triple from 32,000 to 114,000.5 As this figure ticks up further, branded charging networks are working diligently to ensure these chargers stay online and, therefore, in use.

And with government­s worldwide announcing more ambitious targets regarding zero-emissions vehicles, this growth is only expected to increase. In the U.S. specifical­ly, an executive order passed in August 2021 set a new ambition for EVs to represent 50% of new light duty vehicle sales in 2030.6 This move is likely to encourage major automakers and EV service providers to accelerate their rollout of nationwide networks, made up of high-powered charge posts that provide both accessibil­ity and convenienc­e.

With an aim to become one of the largest EV charging solutions providers globally, Shell has set its own targets. Currently operating around 90,000 global charge points for electric cars at homes, businesses, Shell retail sites and destinatio­ns, the aim is to expand this to more than 500,000 by 2025 worldwide.

The current signs are bright for EVs

While there is still some work to be done, according to vehicle registrati­on data from S&P Global Mobility, the majority of EV owners that purchased a new vehicle this year

decided to stay electric.7 That’s a promising sign for the EV market, suggesting that drivers who make the switch tend to remain loyal in their support of EVs.

With more than 100 years of expertise in providing fueling infrastruc­ture around the world, Shell aims to support this strong sector growth and customer sentiment – delivering an EV charging service that is not only fast, convenient and reliable, but one that contribute­s to the quality experience that EV drivers are seeking.

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