According to a February 11, 2021 Press Release Shell Global will increase the number of EV charging points from the current 60,000 to “around” 500,000 by 2005. While the release doesn’t say how many of these new charging points will be located in the US, it seems likely that there is an EV charging point coming to a Shell station near you. Probably several charging points.
Abundant Charging Points are On The Way
A half a million charging points by 2025. And that is just Shell. Other oil companies, government facilities and car manufacturers are also adding new charging capacity at a tremendous pace. Tesla already has 17,000 Supercharger charging points located in approximately 2,000 charging locations. The automaker will undoubtedly add to that number in the coming years.
Whether or not you believe EVs will out pace ICE vehicles in the near term, these figures should give you pause. Shell and the other industry experts expect there will be a demand for those charging points. Currently, we don’t need that charging capacity. But Shell and the other charging industry leaders have run the numbers and are investing heavily in charging technology. They wouldn’t bankroll all those charging locations unless they anticipate a strong return on the dollar.
What About the Power Grid?
Those who are convinced that EVs will never overtake ICEs are quick to point out that all those charging points will stress the electrical grid beyond the breaking point. They contend that the current grid can barely support today’s electrical requirements. How can we add millions of electrical charging points without causing cataclysmic grid failure?
Those doomsayers fail to take in account that utility companies are hard at work beefing up the grid to meet future requirements. There may be isolated blackouts in certain areas as EVs ramp up. But energy companies see the trend and are also investing heavily in more capacity.
Never Ber Against Profit Driven Innovation
Innovation can also be expected to reduce demand on the grid. I have already discussed the flywheel technology being developed by Chakratec and other companies. Chakratec claims their system dramatically reduces the need for outside electrical power and is specifically designed to allow for EV charging where the grid is weak or unable to supply sufficient current to charge EVs. This is only one possible solution. Reducing power grid dependance will become a great profit center for energy companies. You can bet there is an army of electrical engineers investigating methods of solving this issue. There might or might not be a major breakthrough in this area, but I expect steady progress year by year. By the time Shell has installed those half-million charging points, the infrastructure to support them will be in place.
That infrastructure will be a very competitive space for the next decade or so. Battery companies will also play a role in the equation. Batteries that can be charged faster and with less energy will crush their competition. So power cell companies are exploring ways to make sure they can survive as consumers purchase EVs in greater numbers.
The battle for Power Dominence is just beginning
There will be big winners, but there will also be big losers. Companies that make wrong choices will wind up losing mammoth amounts of cash. Those that judge the EV trends correctly and invest wisely will generate immense profits.
We are fortunate to have a front row seat for this battle for automotive power supremacy. We are watching history unfold in real time, as EVmakers, utility companies and battery providers attempt to steamroll each other.
Pass the popcorn. The drama is just getting started.