Concerns have been raised as Shell opens the first electric vehicle charging points at its UK petrol stations even though a significant number of them are on pay-as-you-go meters.
Drivers in the UK will be able to recharge 80% of their battery in half an hour at forecourts in London, Surrey and Derby as long as the station manager has been down to the local off licence to top up the electricity supply.
Shell’s Head of Making Sure All Bills Get Paid, Mr. Stan Dingorder said, “we can assure all motorists who stop off at a Shell petrol station to recharge an electric vehicle that there will be plenty of credit left in the meter at all times. We realise it’s far more sensible to top up at the beginning of the month rather than waiting until you’re using up the emergency supply before popping down to the local off licence to buy cigarettes, cider, a packet of Haribo, Rizla papers and electricity with your last tenner. Whilst we may have had issues in the past with regards to leaving the electricity bills unpaid for the landlord to deal with at the end of a station tenancy, the prepay meters will ensure that this never happens again.”
Shell denies its foray into electric vehicle charging has been inspired by the recent growth in battery-powered cars – all of which could in theory provide petrol stations with much needed power if the electricity ever runs out and drivers plug their vehicle into a charging point whilst the dodgy guy behind the counter flicks the ‘reverse charge’ switch.
The petrol giant has confirmed that each of its meter powered stations will have a spare top up card available in case one of them gets lost and there is a 3-5 working day wait for a new one to arrive, thus giving electric car drivers the assurances they need to embark on a journey that involves lots of braking or hill starts and is more than a couple of miles in total distance.
“We want to be able to offer our customers choice. We want them to drive into a Shell station and restock with whatever fuel they require. Obviously we’d rather they chose petrol because we’ve got loads of that, whereas with the leccy it can get a bit close to the wire at the end of the month,” Mr. Dingorder added.