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Shell has bought of one of Europe's largest electric car charging networks, NewMotion, to give its alternative fuels efforts a jolt.

Shell will be buying this Dutch firm to complement its plans for fast-charging points on service station forecourts. 

Part of NewMotion's business includes selling home charging points for electric vehicles, which tend to charge more slowly.

In August, the National Grid predicted that there could be 26 million electric cars on UK roads by 2050.

According to Matthew Tipper, Shell's vice-president for new fuels, the announcement was an early step towards ensuring that customers would have access to a range of refuelling choices in the future.

NewMotions runs approximately 30,000 private electric charge points in the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK. In addition, it provides access to about 50,000 public charge points in 25 countries in Europe for more than 100,000 customers.

According to Shell, the company (which has about 1,000 UK customers) will retain its brand identity.

"We are very pleased to have such a strong investor that fully supports our mission, enabling us to further expand across Europe at a time when the transition to electric vehicles is gathering pace," said NewMotion chief executive Sytse Zuidema.

Shell will be installing the first electric car charging points at a few service stations by the end of this year. Some charging stations will offer drivers 80% charge in only 30 minutes.

Major car manufacturers are increasingly plugging into the EV market. For example, Volkswagen (the world's largest carmaker) will offer an electric version of all its 300 models by 2030. Mercedes-Benz has also promised electric versions of all its cars.

Chief executive of BMW, Harald Krueger, has said that EVs are "not just hype – this is the long-term trend."

Recently, BMW unveiled its first electric Mini, which will be assembled in Oxford and is due to go on sale in 2019.

Providing momentum to these plans, an increasing number of countries are announcing plans to ban new diesel and petrol cars. China, the world's biggest car market, has already signalled such a move.

The UK has followed France by announcing plans to ban all new diesel and petrol cars by 2040, as part of efforts to reduce carbon emissions and pollution. 

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