Fuels

Shell USA to Acquire Volta EV Charging Network

Assets include infrastructure of more than 3,000 retail charge points
Photograph courtesy of Volta Inc.

Shell USA Inc. will acquire electric-vehicle (EV) charging network Volta Inc. in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $169 million. The transaction brings Volta’s dual charging and media network to Shell’s brand.

Volta’s assets include an existing public EV charging network of more than 3,000 charge points at destination sites including convenience stores, grocery stores, shopping centers, pharmacies and other retail and commercial locations 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.

Houston-based Shell USA Inc., a subsidiary of Shell plc., London, markets fuels through approximately 14,000 Shell-branded gas stations in 49 states. The oil company divested its company-owned retail sites in 2004, but it is getting back into retail after its June 2022 acquisition of Landmark Industries’ 248-unit Timewise convenience-store chain. It is No. 32 on CSP’s 2022 Top 202 list of U.S. c-store chains by number of company-owned locations.

“The shift to e-mobility is unstoppable, and Shell recognizes Volta’s industry-leading dual charging and media model delivers a public charging offering that is affordable, reliable and accessible,” said Vince Cubbage, San Francisco-based Volta’s interim CEO.

“While the EV infrastructure market opportunity is potentially enormous, Volta’s ability to capture it independently, in challenging market conditions and with ongoing capital constraints, was limited,” he said. “Both Volta and Shell have a demonstrated ability to meet the changing needs of customers, and this acquisition will bring that experience together to provide the options that are needed as more drivers choose electric.”

Beyond providing a charging service, Volta specializes in generating advertising revenues from screens embedded into the charge point. Volta’s advertising capability and early-mover advantage have allowed the company to secure prime spots and portfolio-level contracts with site hosts in high-value, high-traffic markets, it said.

This acquisition builds on the momentum in electric mobility by combining a leading U.S. EV charging and media company with one of the world’s largest energy suppliers. The transaction provides the opportunity to unlock Volta’s signed pipeline of charging stalls in construction or evaluation and capture the “seismic” EV-charging market opportunity, the companies said. Following the completion of the transaction, there will be no immediate change in driver experience, Volta Media Network capabilities available to advertisers or services it provides to commercial properties and retail locations.

Volta delivers value to site hosts, brands and consumers by installing charging stations that feature large-format digital advertising screens located near the entrances of popular commercial locations. Retailers can attract and influence foot traffic, advertisers can target audiences and EV drivers can charge their vehicles as they go about their daily routines. Volta’s network leverages its proprietary PredictEV platform, which uses behavioral science and machine learning technology to help commercial property owners, cities and electric utilities plan EV infrastructure “intelligently, efficiently and equitably,” it said.

As part of the agreement, an affiliate of Shell will provide subordinated secured term loans to Volta to bridge Volta through the closing of the transaction. The parties expect the transaction to close in the first half of 2023, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.

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