Advice to Oilz: if you Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em

October 13, 2017

At :34 in my recent vid, Shell Oil CEO Ben Van Buerden asserts his next car will be an electric.  Now more:

The Drive:

Oil companies may be realizing that it’s only a matter of time until electric vehicles are the norm. To meet the future needs of the growing EV market, Royal Dutch Shell plans to add electric vehicle chargers at its gasoline stations in Europe, according to an article in The Financial Times.

The first EV chargers will be installed in gas stations in Britain and the Netherlands, which are the oil company’s home countries, but FT did not list a construction timeline.

Electric vehicles currently represent only a small percentage of new vehicle sales globally, but they’re expected to account for 15 to 35 percent of world-wide vehicle sales in 2040, according to automotive research firm IHS Markit.

Shell isn’t the only fuel distributor thinking ahead. Several automotive manufacturers have banned together to implement a network of 350-kWh high-speed charging stations on popular transportation corridors throughout Europe.

Here in America, Tesla has been working with Sheetz gas stations to install its Supercharger stations on certain properties. The EV manufacturer is seeking facilities that offer amenities such as cafes and restrooms that drivers can use while their vehicles recharge, as it can take up to 30 minutes to fill an empty battery.

However, plugs won’t be the only addition to petrol stations in the future, according to some.

“Hydrogen, electric vehicles and biofuels will all have their place,” John Abbott, director of downstream business for Shell, told The Financial Times. “There’s not going to be one solution.”

Update: Shell was unable to comment prior to publication, but provided this statement:

We currently are exploring a role in charging EVs.  Recently, Shell ran eMobility trials with commercial fleet customers in the UK, Germany and USA (California) seeking to establish how charging of battery EVs can be successfully integrated to minimize the impact to the power grid balance. During these trials Shell worked with partners to help customers running fleets of EVs, to shift the charging of their vehicles to avoid periods of peak demand and high costs.

Washington Post:

Yet, when future auto historians look back, they may pinpoint 2017 as the year electric vehicles went from a promising progressive fad to an industry-wide inevitability.

The tipping point, experts say, follows three developments, each rippling outward with economic and cultural consequences.

    1. China’s flexing: In addition to setting aggressive production quotas for EVs, China plans to scrap internal combustion engines entirely as soon as 2030. By taking a lead role in the shift to plug-ins, the world’s largest auto market is forcing the rest of the international community to follow in its footsteps.
    2. The debut of Tesla’s Model 3: The company’s first mass-market vehicle has ushered in an era of excitement about EVs because of the car’s slick design and starting price of around $35,000.
    3. Major automakers announce plans for an “all-electric future.” General Motors finished 2016 as the world’s third-largest automaker, meaning its decision to create 20 new electric vehicles by 2023 is bound to have an impact on the global marketplace. Volvo, Volkswagen, Mercedes, Audi, BMW and Ford have also announced EV plans in recent months.

“You really do feel like this electrification thing is suddenly very real,” Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis at “There’s a momentum we haven’t really seen before. It’s coming from other countries around the world and from big automakers, and that’s forcing everyone else to comply.”

Not so long ago, minuscule sales of EVs made it hard for Big Oil to take the threat of electric cars seriously. Now, thanks to growing demand in Asia and Europe, experts say, that’s beginning to change, even amid predictions that oil demand will continue growing in the developing world. The question facing experts is no longer whether EVs will take over, but when?

A Barclays’ analysis concluded that oil demand could be slashed by 3.5 million barrels per day worldwide in 2025. If electric vehicle penetration reaches 33 percent, oil demand could shrink by a whopping 9 million barrels per day by 2040, Barclays concluded. Bloomberg’s New Energy Finance puts the number at 8 million barrels by 2040, more than the “current combined production of Iran and Iraq,” they note.

Some experts believe electric cars have sounded the death knell of the American gas station, but others aren’t so sure.  Earlier this year, John Abbott, Shell Oil’s business director, revealed that the energy giant is already adapting.

“We have a number of countries where we’re looking at having battery charging facilities,” he told the Financial Times. “If you are sitting charging your vehicle, you will want to have a coffee or something to eat.”

Until charging times drop dramatically and superchargers become widespread, wait times for EV charging at gas stations could turn those stations into “hospitality-type venues,” according to Guido Jouret, the ABB’s chief digital officer, who noted that many gas stations make more money selling soda and food than they do selling gas.



9 Responses to “Advice to Oilz: if you Can’t Beat ’em, Join ’em”

  1. wpNSAlito Says:

    As an EV driver in Austin, I was one of the last people to learn about the long lines at petrol stations after Harvey.

  2. sheilach2 Says:

    I don’t know what your drinking but what ever it is, I want to stay far away from it!
    Such delusional ideas!
    Electric cars are not “inevitable” they will only be a toy for the rich, they are as tied to OIL as any gas or diesel powered vehicle & just how do you expect to generate the added electricity that will be needed if electric cars were to become more common?
    The future is not “electric” it will be sweat, pain & tears because this way of life is not sustainable & we are vastly overpopulated, resources are in decline so we won’t even have the raw materials to build more than a fraction of the electric cars, their batteries, their recharging centers or the ability to generate the electricity they will need.
    I wish they were right, I would love to be able to afford an electric car but for me & billions of other humans, their cost is out of reach & will remain out of reach & just wait until you have to replace those EXPENSIVE batteries in a few years!

    All this noise about “renewables”, electric cars, “smart” homes, flying cars etc are just hype, noises to keep the masses believing that the future will be at least as “good” as today is for them.
    The reality is we are headed for collapse of first I suspect, the economy then the excessive population as resources decline & climate change collapses our agricultural system, a little detail forgotten by those “renewable” pushers & peddlers.
    We can’t eat electricity, electricity produces NO raw materials & weak, eratic, unreliable “renewable” electric generators that are tied to OIL cannot power our agricultural machines or our transportation system.
    A 100% “renewable” future with electricity is a delusion & those peddling that are lying.
    “Dirty oil” will go away & we have NOTHING that can replace it, collapse is inevitable, prepare for THAT if you can!

    • There’s one comment that gives you away here:

      “just wait until you have to replace those EXPENSIVE batteries in a few years!”

      This is a nonsense claim.

      • Why? Batteries are expensive and have a finite life. Of course that cost needs to factored into the running costs of the vehicle. Ideally using home generated solar would make the energy costs of running the car negligible. However to say the future will be exactly the same as the present, or bigger, except 100% fueled with batteries, is delusional thinking.

        • Gingerbaker Says:

          Engines are expensive and have a finite life. Cars are expensive and have a finite life. Children are expensive and have a finite life.

          But to talk about EV battery replacement as if it is a normal “running cost” is unjustified. So far, the only cars with a significant percentage of batteries which needed replacement are the 2011 and 2012 Nissan Leafs. Almost all of these early problem batteries were replaced free of charge.

          Degradation studies of Tesla batteries show they will be good for 80%+ integrity for at least 500,000 miles. Which is a lot longer than most ICE cars get out of their engines.

          And battery costs continue to come down – even replacement batteries. Nissan used to say a replacement battery was, IIRC, around $10k. Now it is $5.4k.

          The Chevy Volt has been on sale since 2010. It appears that not a single car has needed a replacement battery.

          I don’t think we need to consider battery replacement costs to be an issue with EV’s, even tho this is early days.

          • greenman3610 Says:

            driving a 2008 Prius. Batteries still going strong. (different kind I know, but relevant)

    • greenman3610 Says:

      wild card. EV driverless cars will mean that car ownership will no longer be mandatory for participating in American society.
      Millennials are already pulling away from auto ownership. When driverless cars are ubiquitous – transportation will be like Uber for all – available with taps of the app – much, much cheaper than current ownership – and no more garage visits, parking spaces etc.
      Possible pitfalls will be if driverless EVs are allowed to multiply and roam around endlessly looking for passengers. Could make city traffic worse, not better. Lots of people thinking about these issues.

      • sheilach2 Says:

        You are so FUNNY! “if driverless EV cars are allowed to multiply & roam around endlessly looking for passengers”, never happen. not in your wildest delusions from what ever your taking.
        Just how can driverless EV cars “multiply” without the energy & raw materials found only in oil, coal & natural gas?
        Please don’t tell me solar panels & wind turbines could supply the energy because they cannot & none of them produce anything other than intermittent, erratic, electricity, no essential raw materials.
        Because all the rich ores are gone, we now need huge oil powered digging machines to mine tones on low grade ore from all over the planet to produce a little element or rare earth, huge amounts of fossil fuels are used to mine, crush, separate & melt metals, ceramics & other materials used to make high tech machines or items like solar panels.
        No way could solar panels replace energy dense fossil resources especially since they depend upon oil to merely exist.

        I’ed worry more in the future about getting run over by a frightened horse, cars will be raw materials for the black smith.

        Perhaps those “lots of people thinking about these issues” should look a little further beyond their tunnel, the future will not be an extension of the present because our way of life & 7.5 billion humans are dependent upon a declining, temporary resource that has no replacement.
        That will change everything.

  3. petersjazz Says:

    Still, the most growing energy form (in volume) is oil. Renewables grows more in share but thats from small numbers.

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