Big Oil is preparing for the “shift to e-mobility” with the latest EV charging buyout

As the auto industry transitions to all-electric vehicles, big oil companies are trying to keep their share of the wealth. In the latest news, oil giant sleeve buys the charging and media company for electric vehicles Volta.

Big Oil goes after charging the electric vehicle

As more automakers and nations embrace all-electric vehicles, and the future of the auto industry becomes ever clearer, oil majors are doing their part to ensure they remain relevant during the transition.

EVs accounted for 10% of all global auto sales in 2022 for the first time, crossing a significant threshold as the industry looks to scale EV production.

In recent years, major oil giants like Shell have made multiple acquisitions and other investments to expand their EV charging network and diversify away from gas-related sales.

The oil company rolled out some of these first e-charging stations in 2017 and later that year acquired New Motion, giving them instant access to 30,000 channels across Europe. Shell has since made several new investments and acquisitions, partnering with big names like Nio and BYD to expand its network.

Shell currently operates around 90,000 electric vehicle charging stations at homes, businesses and Shell-branded locations, with an additional 300,000 stations available through its roaming networks.

Shell wants to operate until 2025 over 500,000 charging connections for electric vehicles transitioning its business into the new era of zero-emission electric vehicles. The latest acquisition will bring the company one step closer to its goal.

Shell Recharge EV charging (Source: Shell)

Shell buys Volta in an all-cash deal

In a press release today, Volta announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement in which Shell USA will purchase the company in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $169 million.

Volta is a San Francisco-based EV charging and media company with installed Level 2 charging stations in grocery storesShopping malls, banks and other business or retail locations.

Vince Cubbage, Volta’s interim CEO, states that the transaction is intended to benefit shareholders while providing a clear path forward for the company:

The transition to e-mobility is unstoppable and Shell recognizes that Volta’s industry-leading dual charging and media model offers a public charging offering that is affordable, reliable and accessible. While the market opportunity for EV infrastructure is potentially huge, Volta’s ability to capitalize on it independently has been limited amid difficult market conditions and ongoing capital constraints. This transaction creates value for our shareholders and provides a clear path forward for our exceptional employees and other stakeholders.

A major oil major like Shell acquiring a leading electric vehicle charging company is building on the momentum of electric vehicles as more drivers choose zero-emission electric vehicles.

As part of The deal, Shell will provide credit to Volta to bridge it until the deal closes. In addition, Shell USA will acquire all of Volta’s outstanding Class A common shares at a price of $0.86 per share for cash.

Electrek’s take

When I hear big oil companies investing in clean, sustainable energy, the word greenwashing generally comes to mind. In this case, however, Shell appears to be looking to the future of the industry to maintain its revenue stream and brand status.

Shell is still one of the world’s largest oil majors, but the company clearly sees where the industry is headed. The oil giant has made several acquisitions and investments over the years to diversify its revenue streams away from gas and oil-related products.

The oil company has one of the largest gasoline retail networks in the US and worldwide. By offering EV charging stations at all of these locations and other public businesses, the company is trying to maximize its long-term growth opportunities.

In the meantime, expanding its EV network won’t be Shell’s biggest hurdle; the winding down of gas and oil deals will be.

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