The oil giant is laying off the EV charging subsidiary’s employees on May 31, with “the vast majority” of them being offered jobs at Shell, according to a WARN notice.

Shell USA nixing Volta brand this summer

A Volta charging station Retrieved from Volta.

Dive Brief:

  • Shell USA, the U.S. division of London-based fuel giant Shell, is taking over the operations of Volta Charging Industries, the electric vehicle charging company it acquired in 2023, according to a WARN notice to Volta employees on March 29 and as confirmed by a Shell spokesperson.
  • The notice clarifies that Volta is “winding down operations” and that “Shell and its affiliates will take over.” It also notes that although all Volta employees will be laid off amid this process, “the vast majority” of them have been offered employment at Shell or its affiliates.
  • This comes almost exactly a year after Shell USA acquired San Francisco-based Volta for $169 million in a move that aimed to help scale the oil giant’s EV charging network in the U.S.

Dive Insight:

In the notice, Volta’s President and CEO Brandt Hastings said that Volta is ceasing all operations and terminating all employees on May 31, and that Shell will take over the EV charging operations the following day.

According to the notice, this move impacts nearly 200 employees at Volta who live and work across over a dozen U.S. states. While it didn’t mention him by name, the notice included Hastings’ title as part of this group, and it’s unclear what role he’ll play with Shell USA moving forward.

It also remains unclear if this move is merely a name change or if Shell USA intends to modify Volta’s operations and technology as part of the shift. Shell USA’s spokesperson said that this is part of the integration process between the two companies, and that the WARN notices were sent out to Volta’s staff as a precautionary measure, as the “majority” of them have been offered roles at Shell or its subsidiaries.

Shell USA agreed to acquire Volta last January. Volta’s chargers, which are located in 35 states and territories, feature large-format digital advertising screens and the company’s proprietary PredictEV platform, which uses behavioral science and machine learning to help commercial property owners, cities and electric utilities plan EV infrastructure.

When the deal closed in March 2023, Istvan Kapitany, global executive vice president of Shell Mobility — whose resignation announcement coincides with this shift — highlighted Volta’s ability to generate advertising revenues from the screens embedded into its chargers.

Shell’s takeover of Volta’s operations comes amid the company’s broader plans to divest 1,000 convenience stores outside of the U.S. by 2026. Shell executives have said these plans are tied to its multi-billion dollar program to upgrade its retail network with low-carbon energy solutions, including a heavy focus on electric vehicle charging stations.

Houston-based Shell USA markets fuel at about 14,000 Shell-branded gas stations in 49 states and owns nearly 250 c-stores in the U.S.

  • Shell USA acquires EV-charging company Volta for $169M By Brett Dworski • Jan. 19, 2023

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