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Shell Execs Get The Message: EV Charging Is Good For Me

Oil giant Shell — yes, Shell — pushes the EV charging envelope with acquisition of Greenlots, which just entered a deal with ChargePoint.

Money talks, the rest walks. That’s the takeaway from Royal Dutch Shell’s new policy of linking executive pay to carbon emissions. Shell announced the new policy last month, and it already seems to be having an effect. Yesterday the company announced it has acquired Greenlots, a leader in the EV charging field.

Big Oil Acquires Big EV Charging Company

To be clear, it’s not clear that the new executive pay policy is the defining force behind Shell’s big move into the EV charging field. After all, the company has been diversifying into clean tech for a number of years, including the acquisition of the sprawling EU charging network NewMotion.

Image courtesy NewMotion

Either way, the Greenlots deal really is a big deal.

The Shell-Greenlots announcement spells out the benefits for Shell. It enables Shell to get a big, fat foothold in the coming EV revolution here in the US:

With this deal, Greenlots’ technology and team become the foundation for Shell’s continued expansion of electric mobility solutions in North America. Together, the companies will offer best in class software and services that enable large-scale deployment of smart charging infrastructure and integrate efficiently with advanced energy resources like solar, wind and power storage.

In case that’s not convincing enough, Shell’s EVP for New Energies Mark Gainsborough underscored the point, with a dash of touchy-feely for good measure:

This latest investment in meeting the low-carbon energy needs of US drivers today is part of our wider efforts to make a better tomorrow. It is a step towards making EV charging more accessible and more attractive to utilities, businesses and communities.

That’s a pretty big step, considering the track record that Greenlots has racked up in the electric vehicle field.

Greenlots regularly crosses the CleanTechnica radar, and just last month we caught word of a new electric vehicle partnership that paired Greenlots another leader in electric vehicle charging, ChargePoint.

Actually, ChargePoint is not just any old leader. The company bills itself as “the world’s largest and most open electric vehicle charging network.”

Here’s the lowdown on the new partnership:

ChargePoint and Greenlots have announced a roaming partnership that will allow customers to use a member of either charging network to charge on all Greenlots and ChargePoint stations without having to create a new account or pay additional fees.

I know, right? It’s almost like Shell got itself a two-for-one deal. Smart! CleanTechnica is reaching out to Greenlots for more details on the benefits of coming under the Shell umbrella, so stay tuned for more on that.

Shell And The Sparkling Green Grid Of The Future

App-based EV charging convenience is just part of the Greenlots business model. The company offers a turnkey approach aimed at accelerating the installation of charging stations. Greenlots also deals in distributed energy resources and grid balancing services.

Connect the dots, and you’ll see that Shell has just bought itself a ticket to the sparkling green grid of the future — you know, the one that the US Department of Energy is still promoting regardless of White House* policy.

The agency’s ongoing Grid Modernization Initiative starts with some bad news for conventional, centralized coal power plants…

Our extensive, reliable power grid has fueled the nation’s growth since the early 1900s; however, the grid we have today does not have the attributes necessary to meet the demands of the 21st century and beyond.

…and then moves in for the kill:

Our portfolio of work will help integrate all sources of electricity better, improve the security of our nation’s grid, solve challenges of energy storage and distributed generation, and provide a critical platform for U.S. competitiveness and innovation in a global energy economy. The grid of the future will deliver resilient, reliable, flexible, secure, sustainable, and affordable electricity.

Do tell! The agency still has active mandates in fossil fuels and nuclear energy, but that thing about a flexible and sustainable grid is not exactly reassuring for coal stakeholders.

Whatever Happened To Shell-Branded LEGO Gas Stations?

Shell has a long way to go in the area of sustainability, to say the least. However, the pace of its diversification activity does contrast sharply with other laggards in the oil and gas industry, most notably ExxonMobil.

If Shell keeps up the good work, the company might even be able to revive its relationship with the environmentally forward company LEGO. The iconic toy manufacturer used to sell Shell-branded gas station kits until 2014, when it decided not to renew the licensing deal.

Shell better act fast, though, if it wants that Shell-branded EV charging station in its Christmas stocking.

LEGO already has a working Vestas-branded wind turbine kit under its belt and it’s a safe bet that other clean tech companies are eagerly awaiting their turn in toy making history.

Follow me on Twitter.

*Developing story.

Photo (cropped): via GreenLots.

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Written By

Tina specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.


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