Shell logo on top of forecourt

UK’s first Shell EV charging hub now open

The lives of EV drivers in Fulham just became easier with the addition of Shell’s new EV charging hub!

Where there was once a fuel refilling station on Fulham Road, Shell have converted the pumps into ultra-rapid charging points. This move has exciting implications for EV drivers and the future of sustainable transportation. It is the first time that Shell have converted a previously existing fuel site to cater fully to electric vehicles.

Shell’s first UK all-EV charging hub

So, what can drivers expect to see when they visit the new Shell Recharge site?

Ultra-rapid charging points

The first thing to note is the impressive technology behind the charging points themselves. The hub is home to 9 high powered, 175kW charge points. These points are said to be able to charge an average battery from 0-80% in just 10 minutes! Considering that the next fastest chargers – rapid chargers – take up to 30 minutes to charge a battery to 80%, these are impressive numbers indeed.

For drivers who remain sceptical of electric vehicles for their slow charge times and low range, projects such as this Shell charging hub might begin to alleviate such concerns. After all, EV technology and infrastructure is only likely to improve in the coming years.

So, drivers won’t need to wait too long to charge their vehicles, but what can they do during their short visit?

Coffee, snacks and more!

Drivers can wait out their charging time in “a comfortable seating area” with free Wi-Fi. There’s a Costa Coffee, and a Little Waitrose & Partners, meaning drivers can enjoy a coffee whilst they wait, or even pick up some essentials on their drive home.

Shell’s vision for the “future of service stations”

Sustainable building

Another highly impressive feat of this new charging hub is how sustainability has been considered in its design.

For example, timber has been used to build the canopy which uses less energy than the production and transportation of steel. On top of this canopy is a selection of solar panels, which provide for around a quarter of the hub’s electricity needs.

What’s more, high insulating double glazing is used for the storefront windows, meaning reduced energy is used for cooling and heating the building during times of more extreme weather.

Renewable energy sources

Arguably the most impressive feat of Shell’s new EV hub is that all of the electricity supplied to the EV chargers comes from 100% renewable energy sources. Environmentally conscious drivers can have the confidence to charge their vehicles at this hub knowing they are not purging the planet of non-renewable energy sources.

For more information on Shell Recharge, visit the Shell website!

In addition to the creation of this new site, Shell are working hard to improve electric vehicle infrastructure across the UK. They’re endeavouring to install 5,000 charging points at both current service stations and new locations within the next three years. You can also expect to see 50,000 on-street chargers from Shell by 2025. This is all part of their goal to provide convenient, high-quality charging to their customers.

Shell Recharge station

Charging vehicles with the Shell Electric Vehicle Card

For drivers wishing to save money on charging their vehicles, they could get their hands on the Shell Electric Vehicle fuel card. This card can be used at over 270 Shell Recharge sites, and lets you pay at over 7,500 individual charging points across the UK.

Furthermore, this card is a fantastic option for fleets with a mix of electric and traditional fuel vehicles. The Shell Electric Vehicle fuel card doesn’t limit you to just paying for charging, but you can also pay for your traditional fuels at Shell sites.

For businesses near the Shell Recharge on Fulham Road, they would be well paired with the Shell EV fuel card. As the UK moves further towards the full electrification of our vehicles, it pays to start preparing now!

Get in touch with Fuel Card Services today, we’ll find a fuel card that suits your needs, whether you need to charge your EVs or fill up your petrol and diesel vehicles!

Electric charger plugged into white car

Can you use a fuel card to charge electric vehicles?

The UK’s transition towards zero emissions means that businesses are going to be turning to electric vehicles to fuel their operations. Why, then, should a fleet manager stick to using a fuel card if electric vehicles are the future of transport?

Of course, EV infrastructure is a completely different landscape to what many fleet managers will be used to. You might even ask “how am I supposed to pay to charge my vehicles?”

It’s a valid question. Fleet managers have been paying for fuel in a number of ways for years. Fuel cards are a popular option, or having employees pay for fuel and claim back expenses later is also common.

However, with the inevitable adoption of EVs on the horizon, fleet managers might worry that these payment methods will no longer be viable.

Why are old payment methods less compatible with EVs?

Your fleet may have operated under a system where your drivers paid for fuel with their own money, then claimed that money back via expense forms.

When it comes to charging an EV, however, this may not be as effective.

In 2021, electric vehicle batteries still have a long way to go. Huge advancements have been made in charging technology, but many EVs will struggle to get 200 miles out of a full charge. This means that drivers are likely to charge their vehicles more often than they were fuelling their combustion engine vehicles.

When it comes to filling out expense reports and claiming back mileage, this is not ideal. Admin time could be doubled with all these extra reports to fill out.

It gets even more complicated when you factor in the different charging apps. Until recently, finding an electric vehicle charging point that accepted contactless card payments wasn’t as easy as you’d expect. Instead, different charging points used different apps to process payments.

Whilst contactless is now more common on the EV charging network, your drivers may still encounter a charging point that requires one of these apps. This is just another complication in the purchasing and expense claiming process.

Should you still use a fuel card once you adopt electric vehicles?

In short, yes. The way that we fuel our vehicles may be changing, but paying for it is just as easy.

One of the main benefits of using a fuel card is that they can give your drivers access to a large range of chargers. You won’t need to worry about having the correct app installed.

Each of your drivers can be given their own individual fuel card, meaning their payments can be tracked and linked to their vehicle.

A single, consolidated HMRC approved invoice will be provided to you. This means that there is no need to keep track of receipts, and your admin time will be massively reduced.

Many fuel card offerings also give drivers the option to pay for regular fuel as well. This means you don’t have to take the huge leap of transitioning to an electric fleet overnight. You can start by introducing a few electric vehicles to your fleet and slowly phase out your ICE vehicles. After all, you won’t be able to buy any new combustion engine vehicles after the 2030 ban, so it’s worth preparing yourself for this change now.

As of April 2021, only 6% of businesses were using a fuel card to charge their electric vehicle. That’s 94% of businesses missing out on the huge benefits they offer. Say you’ve already made the transition to EVs, why not get even further ahead of the competition?

How can Fuel Card Services help?

Our most recent addition to our line-up of branded fuel cards is the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card.

With this card, you’ll get access to over 7,500 charging points in the UK. 900 of these points are also rapid charging.

The Shell EV Card can also be used at Shell Recharge sites. Shell Recharge is Shell’s network of rapid EV chargers. They use 100% renewable energy and can provide most vehicles with 0-80% charge in just half an hour.

Of course, this card can also be used to pay for petrol and diesel, if you are operating a mixed fleet.

The change to electric vehicles doesn’t have to be an expensive venture for your business. Get in touch with our expert team today and see how we could help save you time and money.

hybrid or electric cars for commercial fleets

Electric or hybrid cars for commercial fleets?

The cost of new vehicles is always a huge factor for fleet managers to consider. It can require capital investments worth thousands of pounds, which can have a serious impact on a business’ cash flow in the short term.

This decision isn’t one that can be ignored or put off, either. The government announced that the sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 – so savvy commercial fleets are now looking to explore the world of electric and semi-electric vehicles. To help make this decision, we’re sharing our insights that should help cover all bases when choosing which types of vehicles to buy or lease.

One popular question we see fleet managers ask themselves is whether to choose between electric or hybrid cars, so this article will help to identify the types of hybrid and electric car, shine a light on the pros and cons of these different models, and provide some insight around how best to make that crucial decision.

Types of hybrid and electric car

While the first hybrid car (the Prius in 1997) looked completely different to anything else on the roads, this isn’t the case anymore. In fact, unlike their fully electric counterparts, you may not even realise you’re looking at a hybrid when you see one.

Hybrid vehicles bridge the gap between traditional vehicles that are powered by petrol or diesel and those that are completely powered by electric energy by combining a typical engine with a battery-powered electric motor.

As operators look to incorporate electric vehicle models into their fleets, it’s important to understand the range of options available in market. These include:

1. Parallel hybrids

This is the most common type, with an example being the Toyota Prius. It can be powered solely by the engine; solely by the motor; or using both together. Electricity is produced and stored when the brakes are applied.

2. Range extender

Like the BMW i3, the engine in these cars never drives the vehicle and is instead used to produce energy to recharge the batteries.

3. Plug-in hybrids

These cars can be charged while they are being driven, or by being plugged in at a designated charging point. The Mitsubishi Outlander is a good example.

You might also hear the terms ‘strong’ or ‘mild’, which simply refers to the amount of battery power available – strong hybrids can drive further than mild ones.

4. Fully electric cars

Full-electric cars require charging at compatible charging points every time they run flat, but have surprisingly low running costs once these have been established. An example is the SEAT Mii electric.

rear of white hybrid car

The key factors to consider

When choosing between electric and hybrid vehicles, consider the following.

Initial purchase cost

The initial purchase cost of any new vehicle is likely to be the most significant cost a business will incur during the vehicle’s lifespan. As of 2021, the average cost of a full-electric car is around £44,000, which of all car types is likely to be the most expensive option in the market.

Hybrid cars are typically around £4,000 more expensive than their cheaper petrol equivalents, and still undercut fully electric vehicles by up to around £10,000 when comparing models like-for-like – making them the middle-market option in terms of listing price.

It’s also important to consider the cost of charging points your fleet is likely to be facing. Different EVs require different types of charging stations, and a single charging point could cost up to £1500 – so nailing down charger compatibility is an important part of the buying process.

Running costs

Once you’ve purchased your electric or hybrid vehicle and established your charging requirements, it’s time to think about running costs.

The cost of fuel is considerably more expensive than the cost of electricity when considered like-for-like. One mile of unleaded for a typical UK hatchback could cost a driver around 18p, whereas an equivalent cost for a similar size of fully electric vehicle is likely to be around 0.025p.

For an SME running a fleet of taxis, this significant cost saving could really rack up with the kind of mileage drivers are likely to be covering, which could exceed 30,000 miles per year. Hybrid vehicles are able to enjoy some of the cost-saving benefits associated with using electricity over fuel, coming in at around 30% cheaper per mile than fuel powered vehicles, but this can vary depending on the type of hybrid your fleet utilises.

One additional point to consider in terms of daily running costs is charging point availability. If your electric vehicles aren’t getting access to an adequate network of charging stations while on long haul journeys, then it could increase the total duration of each trip and drive your overheads upward.

Just because you have an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t continue to make great savings with a fuel card though. With the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, you can save 2p per kWh, and access over 7,500 nationwide charge points. You can even use it to pay for regular fuel, making the transition from fuel to electric even easier!

Environmental impact

There’s no doubt that electric vehicles are the most environmentally friendly option for commercial fleets in the UK, but hybrid vehicles do also go a long way to reducing driver’s fuel emissions.

From an ethical standpoint, having a fully electric fleet could position your business as eco-conscious to customers and prospective employees alike. If this shift is in fact inevitable, with the gradual phasing out of fuel-based vehicles rolling out, then it may be worth considering making the shift to a fully electric fleet sooner rather than later.

It’s also worth considering whether being more environmentally friendly could actually be cheaper for your fleet. There’s a good chance the UK government will introduce a carbon tax within the next twenty years, and that could see the cost per mile of running a hybrid vehicle increase. So, creating projections for the future that can factor into your business’ cash flow forecast may also help you decide between which electric vehicle models to acquire.

Range anxiety

The opinions of your drivers could also be a factor worth taking into consideration. Range anxiety, for example, could prove to be an issue for some. With fully electric vehicle technology still feeling alien to some, hybrid alternatives could potentially give drivers reassurance, and confidence in their routes.

What’s clear is that the adoption of hybrid and electric vehicles is on the radar of virtually every major fleet operator in the UK. According to Arval figures, 25 percent of UK fleets have already begun adopting hybrid cars, so now is a better time than ever to start asking these questions and learning more about the market.

How can Fuel Card Services help?

At Fuel Card Services, we specialise in helping businesses save money on their fuel costs. Electric technology may not be a fully viable option for all, and businesses can be making real cost savings today. With a fuel card from our range of branded cards, you could be making a real impact to your bottom line for every mile driven by your team. For businesses who have made the transition to EVs, we recommend the Shell EV Fuel Card to keep your charging costs down.

Additionally, it’s important that you’re able to properly track your driver’s routes, and plan routes efficiently. Our Tele-Gence technology can be used to empower your drivers with this information. Live traffic updates can notify them of long traffic queues, enabling them to steer clear, and you’ll be given updates on their driving habits to understand whether they’re burning unnecessary fuel.

Tele-Gence also syncs seamlessly with your fuel card account, making them the perfect pairing for keeping your fuel costs and consumption as low as possible. Get in touch today and see how we could help you.

woman charging electric vehicle whilst using phone

How long does it take to charge an electric car?

Drivers have been sceptical about how long it takes to charge an electric car since they began to increase in popularity towards the end of the 2000s.

It’s understandable since drivers are used to filling up their vehicles with fuel in a matter of minutes. Of course, with electric vehicles, it isn’t that simple.

We have to charge our cars just like we charge our phones – it can be a slow process that we often do overnight.

How fast can you charge an electric car?

Of course, the rate at which you can expect your vehicle to charge depends on two main factors (and a few smaller ones).

Firstly, how large is your battery? A Mercedes EQV 300 has a capacity of 90kWh. However, a Nissan Leaf e+ has a battery capacity of 56kWh. Therefore, regardless of other factors, the Nissan is likely to charge faster as there is less capacity to charge.

The second factor to consider is the rate of the charger you are using. There are different types of EV charger, which we’ll get into below.

Knowing these two figures can help you easily determine how long it will take to charge your electric vehicle. This can be helpful when planning long journeys, or how to fit charging around your work schedule.

You can determine the time you’ll need by doing the following calculation:

Battery Size ÷ Charging Speed = Time Needed to Charge Vehicle

What are the different types of EV charger?

There are three main types of EV charger – rapid, fast and slow. As you can imagine, they are named for the speed at which they will charge your vehicle.

Rapid chargers

If you have access to rapid charging, you’ll be getting the fastest charging on the market. These chargers can provide anywhere from 40kW to 150kW depending on the model of charger and vehicle.

Rapid DC chargers are the most common rapid charging points and use CHAdeMO or CCS charging standards. They provide power at 50kW, meaning a vehicle with a battery capacity of 50kWh would take exactly one hour to fully charge.

However, Rapid DC isn’t the fastest! Ultra-Rapid DC provides power at double the amount of a Rapid DC charger. These charge points are designed to accommodate the fact that as EV technology develops, battery sizes are increasing. Ultra-Rapid DC keeps charging time down despite extra capacities.

Tesla drivers have also had access to Tesla’s Supercharger network. However, Elon Musk announced that the network is being made available to other types of vehicles towards the end of this year. On a similar note, owners of older Tesla models could use adapters to connect with other Rapid DC chargers, but all newer models are being made compatible with CCS charging.

Woman plugging charger into electric vehicle

Fast chargers

The most common faster chargers are rated at 7kW or 22kW, and tend to provide AC charging instead of the DC charging offered by Rapid chargers. Fast chargers are often found at home charging points, but can be seen in public parking places such as supermarkets where you are likely to park for at least an hour.

Most 7kW chargers are untethered, meaning drivers can attach their own charging cables. If a charge point is tethered, it means that only vehicles compatible with the attached cable can be used.

The Type 2 connector is the most common charge point standard. Most EVs have the capacity to connect to them, so it is beneficial to have as many of them in our charging infrastructure as possible.

Slow chargers

Slow chargers are said to be rated at 3kW, but the most common of them rated at 3.6kW. Slow charging includes the use of drawing from the mains with a three-pin plug.

This offers a good deal of options when it comes to charging away from home. If you are visiting another household, for example, you can plug your car into the mains and charge. The owner of the home does not need to have an EV charge point installed. However, most authorities on the subject do not recommend using a three-pin plug as an alternative to a dedicated EV charger.

Slow chargers are ideal for workplace and home parking, as vehicles tend to be left stationary for long periods of time. They wouldn’t be convenient at service stations for obvious reasons.

Making the transition to EVs

We know that EV infrastructure is improving rapidly every year, and we know that battery life and range is steadily increasing too.

Consider what is stopping you from shifting your business towards an EV fleet. Is it something Fuel Card Services could help with?

Many readers may already be getting cheaper fuel with a fuel card, but switching to an electric vehicle doesn’t mean you can’t continue reaping this benefit. With the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card, you’ll save 2p per kWh when you charge. You can also use the Shell EV Card to pay for regular fuel, if you want to make a gradual transition to EVs.

For example, we can keep your servicing and maintenance costs low with MyService.Expert, helping to keep your vehicles on the road consistently.

If you’re still concerned about range, we can help you make a full charge of battery go further with our Tele-Gence tracking system. If improved safety and automated reporting aren’t enough, you can find the most optimised routes to stop your drivers from burning through unnecessary charge!

Get in touch today and find out what we could do to help you make the switch to electric vehicles.

Charger plugged in to a black electric vehicle

How long do electric vehicle batteries last?

EV batteries are one of the many things that may seem daunting to drivers considering the transition from a combustion engine vehicle. How long can they expect these batteries to last?

Know your vehicle

Whilst it is inevitable that EVs are the future of transportation, drivers do have some reservations. For example, the range of an electric car has often been questioned when compared to a combustion engine vehicle. In addition to this, drivers are concerned about the lack of charging infrastructure.

However, these concerns may die out in the coming years. Battery technology is improving each year, meaning vehicles can travel even further. New charging stations are being implemented, with a huge increase in the number of charge points being seen each year.

Speaking of batteries, however, that’s something else that drivers will need to get used to. What is the life of an EV battery, and can they be replaced?

How do EV batteries work?

Electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries. This is a type of rechargeable battery that has many applications. For example, they are used in mobile phone, laptops and tablets due to their ability to provide consistent, portable electricity.

It’s their recharging capability that makes them ideal for electric vehicles.

Rather than using a single battery, EVs use a collection of thousands of lithium-ion cells.

Charging causes chemical changes within the battery. When the vehicle is in motion, the chemical changes are reversed – that’s what generates the electricity needed to power the vehicle.

What happens to EV batteries over time?

Just like your phone or laptop battery, however, the capacity of your vehicle’s battery will decline over time.

The repetitive cycle of charge (when your vehicle is plugged in) and discharge (when you drive the vehicle) have an impact on the amount of charge the battery can hold. In fact, approximately 20% of your battery’s capacity will be lost after approximately eight years of daily use.

Most estimates put the lifespan of an EV battery at anywhere between 10-20 years depending on a number of factors. The lifespan of these batteries, however, is only going to increase as technology advances.
Given that you can expect your vehicle’s battery to last at least 10 years, drivers should not add the lifespan of the battery to their list of reservations about transitioning to an EV.

When the capacity of your EV battery does eventually stop working efficiently, what does this mean? Can you get a replacement, or is the vehicle set for the scrap heap?

Charger plugged in to electric vehicle

Can you replace an electric vehicle battery?

Luckily, many manufacturers provide a warranty. The length of this warranty can vary, but tend to be around 8-10 years or around 100,000 miles. This means that if something went wrong sooner than expected, there’s a chance your warranty will cover any battery replacement.

Unfortunately the battery is one of the most expensive components in an electric vehicle. Replacing it without a warranty won’t come cheap. Currently, the average cost of replacing a battery is roughly £4,000.

Whilst that seems drastic, there is hope! Just 5 years ago, the same battery replacement would have cost just over £7,000. If this trend continues, the cost of replacement might be quite reasonable by the time the 2030 ban comes around and EV adoption in the UK is more widespread.

What can you do to extend the life of your battery?

Whilst there is nothing you can do to fully halt the depreciation of your battery’s capacity, there are steps you can take to encourage a longer life!

For example, you should avoid leaving your vehicle fully charged or at a low charge for an extended period of time. When your battery is charged around 50%, this is actually putting the least amount of strain on the battery. Therefore, if you know that your vehicle isn’t going to be used for a few days, consider waiting to charge it at a later date. Or, if your battery is low, you could charge it to 50%, and finish charging next time you come to use the vehicle.

Using fast or rapid chargers can also degrade your battery capacity if used frequently. Of course, they are a necessity when making long journeys, but it’s worth keeping this in mind if you want to add some years to your battery’s lifespan.

Whilst there’s not much that can be done about the temperature, extreme heat or cold can also put strain on your battery. Parking in the shade in summer and indoors in the winter could make the world of difference in this regard.

Have you considered making the change to electric?

Whilst yes, your battery may lose capacity over time, this does not negate the many benefits of electric vehicles.

More and more drivers and businesses are going to be using EVs in the coming years. Fears surrounding charging and range anxiety are slowly being put to rest.

Maybe it’s time for you to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle?

For fleet managers considering the transition, it is natural to be worried about how EVs may affect your finances. You should be doing everything you can to minimise costs, and this is made possible with the Shell Electric Vehicle Fuel Card.  You can save 2p per kWh, access 7,500 charge points across the UK and even use it to pay for regular fuel.

Get in touch today, and we’ll see how we can ease your transition to electric vehicles.