Shell Inc., one of the biggest players in the fossil-fuel industry, has acquired ad-supported electric vehicle charging station network Volta in a deal valued at $169 million.
"With this acquisition, Shell now owns and operates one of the largest public electric vehicle-charging networks in the U.S.," the company said in a statement announcing the deal.
The acquisition is telling given that Shell is among the big fossil-fuel marketers -- and their agencies -- that have come under criticism for utilizing so-called "greenwashing" tactics in which they use media to disproportionately promote their climate crisis initiatives.
"Volta will provide Shell with an existing public charging network of more than 3,000 charge points at destination sites (shopping centers, grocery stores, pharmacies, etc.) across 31 U.S. states and territories, a development pipeline of more than 3,400 additional charge points, and capabilities to continue developing, operating, and monetizing EV charging infrastructure," the company added in its statement.
“We want to make charging as convenient as possible for our customers,” said István Kapitány, executive vice president of Shell Mobility. “As demand for EV charging continues to grow, destination sites will play a key role in meeting people where they spend a great deal of time: the store, the gym, and everywhere in-between. Beyond providing a charging service, Volta specializes in generating advertising revenues from screens embedded into the charge point, adding a source of non-fuel revenue from sites both in the U.S. and globally.”
Shell described Volta's advertising business as an "early mover advantage have allowed the company to secure prime spots and portfolio-level contracts with site hosts in high-value, high-traffic markets," adding: "While most of Volta’s current revenue is generated through advertising, there are plans to increase the number of fast charging DC outlets with a paid charging model."