Volkswagen and Shell Germany have put the first battery-boosted charging station into operation at a Shell gas station in Göttingen, Germany. If the trial deployment is successful, further examples of Elli’s pole could be created at pit stops by Shell in Europe.
The Flexpole charging columns from Volkswagen’s energy brand Elli deliver up to 150 kW with only a low-voltage grid connection thanks to the integrated battery backup. Usually, fast chargers of this power class require a medium voltage connection via a transformer station, which naturally raises construction costs and permits from grid operators in the area.
Volkswagen further describes the situation in Germany, where the faster expansion is delayed due to the need for special transformers with long delivery times. “Around 900 German distribution system operators have different requirements for the transformers,” writes VW.
On the other hand, the 150 kW peak power of the Flexpole column is buffered from the integrated battery, which has to be recharged by low voltage. Depending on the vehicle, a range of up to 160 kilometers can be charged within ten minutes.
Other players too
VW and its subsidiary Elli are not alone with this approach; providers such as ADS-TEC Energy and Numbat have specialized in this charging technology. Numbatat also uses technology from ADS-TEC and will install battery-supported HPC at 70 Shell gas stations.
After successful test operations, Shell and Volkswagen want to gradually roll out the Flexpoles in Germany and other European countries. However, the partners have yet to mention concrete expansion targets and markets.
“With Volkswagen’s Elli Flexpole charging stations, we can make an important contribution to the necessary expansion of the charging infrastructure in locations where it would be otherwise difficult for fast charging,” said Tobias Bahnsen, Head of Shell E-Mobility responsible for the DACH region.
Chief Commercial Officer of Volkswagen Group Charging GmbH, Simon Löffler, added the rapid expansion was “a prerequisite for the ramp-up of e-mobility. We are pleased to have found a strong partner in Shell who, like us, wants to expand the charging network in Germany and across Europe.”
About a year ago, Volkswagen and its other partner BP put a Flexpole charging station into operation at an Aral filling station in Düsseldorf.
The German government targets having at least one million charge points by 2030. According to the Federal Network Agency, the number of charging stations rose last year by around 21 000 to over 80 000. Of these, about 67 000 are standard charging points, and approximately 13 000 are fast charging points, writes Volkswagen.
As for Shell, the Dutch oil and gas corporation has been buying into e-mobility for a few years and leverages its location advantage. In 2017, the company bought NewMotion, which has since been renamed Shell Recharge Solutions. Other networks in the portfolio include VolatCharging in the US and the Swiss Evpass.
In 2019, Shell started HPC stations at its service stations. In 2021, Shell purchased the Berlin-based start-up Ubitricity, which enables lamppost charging. In addition, the company recently acquired SBRS GmbH, a charging infrastructure solution provider for commercial electric vehicles.
In addition, Shell has close cooperation with Ionity, the joint venture of Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Hyundai, Porsche, and Volkswagen, to set up fast-charging stations at their pit stops along highways in Europe. Worldwide, Shell aims to install over 500 000 charging points by 2025 and 2,5 million by 2030.
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