Shell has been testing alternative fuels for some time. It opened the first hydrogen fueling sites in the United States several years ago in California. More recently, it partnered with Toyota, manufacturer of the hydrogen-powered Mirai fuel-cell electric vehicle, to open seven more locations. It also has five liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling stations in the United States.
In Germany, Shell is a partner in the H2 Mobility joint venture, which aims to install around 400 hydrogen refueling sites around the country by 2023.
It is also beginning to test the potential of electric-vehicle fueling. By the end of 2017, Shell plans to have 10 fast-charging stations at its fueling sites in the United Kingdom, and it is planning to test them in the Netherlands, Russia, Norway and Spain, among other countries.
Making these alternative fuels price-competitive with fossil fuels, and the infrastructure and pricing model fully scalable, is key, Kapitany said.
“We try to get into a position where it’s a good value proposition for consumers to buy a fuel-cell car, which is driving them from A to B,” he said. “It would be very difficult to assume that people would switch to something that is significantly more expensive."