Why Shell supports this pioneering European regulation – EURACTIV.com


In the coming days, there will be a vote that could help accelerate the energy transition and the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) across the European Union.

Huibert Vigeveno is downstream director at Shell.

Environment Ministers from the 27 Member States will meet in Luxembourg on June 28 as part of the EU Environment Council. And they will vote on a proposal to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars and vans in the EU from 2035.

I really hope they vote for it. The proposed regulation would send a clear signal to the market that the EU is serious about supporting the transition to electric vehicles.

This would make businesses more confident in the face of growing demand, giving them even more reason to invest in charging infrastructure. The customer – the driver – would be more likely to get what they want and need: enough charging stations to assuage any “range anxiety” associated with buying an electric vehicle.

Manufacturers may be increasingly confident that there is a favorable market for the electric vehicles they produce.

By voting for the proposed regulation, ministers could accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles in Europe.

This affects all of us – even non-drivers – because globally, on-road vehicles of all kinds account for around 18% of carbon dioxide emissions from fuel combustion.[i]

If the world is to tackle climate change, urgent action is needed to reduce carbon emissions from cars and vans.

A central part of Shell’s strategy is to transform itself into a net-zero emissions company providing low-carbon energy products and services. Electric vehicles are an important part of this.

And when I meet with our customers, especially in regions like Europe, more and more of them tell me that they want to reduce their emissions and drive electric vehicles. Shell is responding to this growing demand: it is one of the many opportunities of the energy transition.

We work together. So, for example, we have a strategic agreement to install charging stations outside GAMMA and Karwei hardware stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, allowing customers to enjoy the convenience of charging their EV while shopping.[ii]

On average, we install a charging station for a customer somewhere in the world every 20 minutes of each working day.[iii]

We operate approximately 90,000 charging stations worldwide[iv] and we aim to increase that number to 2.5 million by 2030.[v]

We want to put our customers and their choices at the center of everything we do. I know that after 2035 many customers in the EU will be driving older or used cars, so they will still need petrol and diesel.

Shell will continue to supply these fuels, while helping to reduce emissions by offering lubricants to make engines more energy efficient, as well as low-carbon alternatives, such as biofuels.

We will provide those choices, while helping customers transition to electric vehicles.

Of course, we cannot expect this new EU regulation to be the magic bullet for every challenge. He can’t do it all on his own.

We all need to work to put the right measures in place at the right time to ensure customers have a seamless transition to electric vehicles.

One of the biggest challenges is that Europe’s power grids urgently need to expand their capacity to meet growing demand from increasing vehicle charging.

There is also a need to speed up the processes of planning and connecting chargers to the grid. Local authorities, distribution network operators and businesses, including Shell, should work together to make electric vehicle charging widely and quickly available.

The Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation that the EU proposed in July 2021 could also provide a major boost to the installation of public charging stations across the continent.

Governments will still need to continue to offer incentives to make electric vehicle ownership more affordable for customers.

And of course, it is necessary to continue to support the development of renewable energies. The best way to use electric vehicles to reduce carbon emissions is to ensure they are charged as much as possible with low-carbon and zero-carbon electricity.

Shell can help.

Our Powering Progress strategy is to build a material energy business, with electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar playing an important role.

I’m lucky to be able to talk to customers all over the world. So I know that when it comes to electric vehicles, different places will evolve at different rates.

But Europe can be at the forefront of this change. It is one of the regions in the world with the most electric vehicles on the road.[vi]

A growing number of our European customers want to switch to electric vehicles.

Europe is ready for this bold and pioneering regulation.

And Shell is keen to help make it work.

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