Even when I had a petrol car, I boycotted Shell - refusing to use their petrol stations. I thought that would continue once I got an electric car - no dino-juice for me!
My car has more than enough range for me, but on a recent journey I decided it would be prudent to do a splash-and-dash - shove a few kWh in the battery just in case. I fired up Zap Map and was pleasantly surprised to see that Shell had a rapid charger near me. So, here's my review. Can a station forecourt deliver the power I need?
The charger was clearly signposted and in a prominent location - no hunting around the back of the building. There was a dedicated parking space marked out as EV only, so hopefully it won't get ICE'd
The Recharge unit isn't under cover, but the petrol pumps are. Could be a bit grim in the rain.
This was perfect! I tapped my American Express card on the unit and the charge started. Proper pay-as-you-go. This is so welcome. Lots of EV chargers require an app, or a special card, or for you to prepay, or to subscribe to paid membership. Shell Recharge is EV charging as it should be - tap to pay, and pay for what you use, not the time you spend charging.
This is where things get a little tricky. The sign on the charger says 39p per kWh.
That's about 3 times what I pay at home for electricity. But, like bottled water, you're paying for convenience. According to my maths, the real fuel efficiency of an electric car is about 165MPG - so 3x electricity costs about the same as unleaded petrol.
But, there's also an app you can use. The weirdly named "Smoov" - that says the price is 25p/kWh.
I couldn't be bothered setting up the app, so I tapped with contactless.
£20 was reserved on my contactless card. It took 2 days for the final charge to come through: £1.85.
That's the 25p/kWh promised in the app. Obviously the sign is outdated.
Update! The 25p price was a promotion. The regular price is now 39p.
The interface is basically fine. A colour screen with fairly clear instructions, and push buttons to control it.
It took me a few seconds to figure it out - I doubt I wouldn't have enjoyed doing it in the rain.
Stopping the charge wasn't obvious. None of the buttons worked, and I didn't want to hit the prominent "Emergency Stop". Eventually I realised that I had to use the same payment card as I'd used to start. I waved my credit card, and the charge ended. Then I got this message:
This screen hasn't localised this for the UK; we don't use the comma as a decimal separator. I have no idea what "DTC:" means. The 78 at the bottom is current battery percentage - that's not explained anywhere. It also doesn't show the total cost.
Not a very helpful screen, it has to be said. But improvements are on the way.
Hi Terence, thank you for your feedback, I will forward this to the correct department! DTC stands for Diagnostic Trouble Codes, codes that report malfunctions to the vehicle. We hope to see you back soon! 😊— Allego (@AllegoCharging) May 7, 2019
I wanted a quick charge. Batteries usually charge fastest from empty. I got 7.5kWh in 10 minutes - that's about 45kW. Given the unit is rated at 50kW, I'm happy with that speed. Typically, a half-hour charge will take a battery from empty to 80% full, after which charging rates can slow significantly.
There wasn't much to do at the station - it's a fuel stop, not a motorway services. So we bought some sandwiches and ate them in the car. Glamorous!
I'm impressed! Shell are still, no doubt, a morally reprehensible oil company - but they can see that the future is electric.
The price for charging is fair, if a little confusing. And the user interface needs to be localised and properly tested with users.
That said, being able to tap to pay - without any intermediary apps or subscriptions - is a welcome addition to the UK charging market.
5 thoughts on “Review: Shell Recharge”
Thanks for the review, we have been ‘promised’ a Shell charger in Newark for some time.
Your comment regarding Shell as a company, I understand, with Polar, CYC and Chargemaster all owned by BP, I wonder how green our cars are ethically?
There are out-and-our Green fast charging providers, but I wonder for how much longer?
Malcolm Hawton says:
Thanks for the review, which matches my experience with my PHEV. I am able to drive long distances using petrol but try where possible to top up the battery. Shell is by far the easiest with tap and go. I have tried the SMOOV app twice and failed, but the tap and go is so easy I wonder why they bother with the app.
Currently 39p and promising to go up to 49p does however make me pause. Its the markup on wholesale electricity really needed?
Maybe it is only for occasional top up when going long distance, and I’m paying for the convenience, but I’m still waiting for reasonably priced charge points at my destination to get me back home before going fully electric.
Greg White says:
0.39p per kWh, what a rip off. Will cost around £40 to get a full charge on my Tesla 3. I realise now why the Shell garage’s charger down the road is never being used, especially considering there’s half a dozen Polar chargers nearby charging half that rate.
Darren Elliott says:
£20 was taken from my direct debit contactless card so am i right in thinking that the charge will taken and the rest that was not used put back into my account..
First time i have used she’ll recharge?
That was my experience. But I suggest that you ask Shell directly.