A window to the future of EV charging convenience highlighted by Shell/Alfen Pilot
Shell and Alfen have blended sustainable power technologies from their portfolios to demonstrate how the electric vehicle (EV) driving experience can be taken to the next level at service stations across the Netherlands. The companies joined forces on a pilot project featuring battery storage, EV charging stations and supporting solutions that together make EV travel more convenient…while delivering benefits to the Dutch electricity grid.
Amid the growing trend of EV usage in the Netherlands and beyond, driver convenience plays an increasingly critical role in accelerating the mass adoption of EVs. Easy access to charging stations, coupled with fast-charging capabilities, can help influence drivers from all walks of life to transition to using EVs at a greater scale. Shell and Alfen teamed up on a pilot project that combines battery storage technology with service station convenience to redefine the EV driving experience without the expense and effort associated with local grid upgrades.
The most effective approach to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) involves simplifying ownership and usage. Offering convenient access to charging facilities, which enables drivers to swiftly resume their journeys, can greatly improve the overall EV driving experience for users.
When Shell identified the Zaltbommel service station as its pilot site, Alfen got to work designing a custom capacity battery to help ‘supercharge’ the station’s two 175kW EV fast chargers. Tapping into the local electricity grid, the stations could only deliver 100kw of power to charge EVs. After installing Alfen’s battery, the overall power capacity was boosted with an additional 300kW of power… significantly reducing the potential charging time required.
“The technologies we brought together in this pilot are delivering a wide range of benefits for Shell, its customers and the Dutch electricity grid,” said Yves Vercammen, Alfen Country Manager. “It’s gratifying to partner with organisations like Shell to help improve the many ways sustainable power we can deploy to support a lower carbon future.”
Benefits and Implementation
The benefits, however, of this partnership stretch beyond mass EV adoption and an optimised experience for drivers. Alfen’s battery technology saved Shell both the costs and time associated with the grid upgrades needed to match their fast-charging capability. Projects of this nature can cost hundreds of thousands of euros and depending on geography can take as long as a year or more to complete.
Another Shell technology made a key contribution to the project: the Virtual Power Plant (VPP) system empowers service sites like Zaltbommel to deliver spare battery-stored power to the local grid at peak demand periods when it is most needed. This capability offers an additional source of revenue for Shell’s sites, while simultaneously contributing to grid stability. Alfen made this versatility possible by combining technologies from its TheBattery Elements and TheBattery Mobile systems into one custom solution.
This pilot represents Shell’s first service site in the Netherlands to adopt a battery storage solution for EV charging needs. As the project’s performance continues to be assessed, it could lead to an expansion of similar configurations at other Dutch-based Shell service stations. Just weeks before the project’s completion, Shell announced a target commitment to expand its global EV network to ~500,000 charge points by 2025.