Conventional fossil fuel sector is all in electric cars
The fossil fuel sector is also beginning to embrace an electric future.
It's evident that oil corporations like Shell, BP, and Exxon Mobil want to make money from people's transportation needs regardless of the fuel source as electric vehicles transition from niche to mainstream. Some corporations that currently run hundreds of petrol stations are naturally investing heavily in charging infrastructure. Other people are also betting on new developments in battery technology, lithium mining, and potentially electric vehicle production.
According to Bruce On, an EY partner who specialises in the energy sector, European companies are spearheading the charging movement. According to him, they view their extensive current footprints and knowledge of the retail environment as a competitive advantage.
Recently, BP declared that it will buy $100 million worth of Tesla Superchargers, becoming the first business to run Elon Musk's well-known charging outlets on its own. The company's charging division, BP Pulse, has placed over 27,000 charging outlets so far and plans to reach 100,000 by 2030.
The oil company's charging division, Shell Recharge, is further advanced. It manages 140,000 outlets worldwide and paid $169 million earlier this year to acquire US charging company Volta. It unveiled a large 258-stall charging facility in China in September. As a point of comparison, US charging stations normally have four to twelve outlets. Leading Chinesemanufacturers BYD and Shell collaborated on the project.
Big Oil is also entering the battery business, which is essential to the electric transition of the. For instance, according to The Wall Street Journal, Koch Industries has funded businesses along the whole battery supply chain with hundreds of millions of dollars.
According to On, US companies are less concerned about pricing and more focused on doing what they do best, which is extracting raw minerals from the ground. According to The Journal, Exxon Mobil purchased 120,000 acres of property in Arkansas early this year to extract and process lithium, a crucial component of lithium-ion EV batteries. Chevron is thinking of mining lithium as well.
Lithium-rich brine is a byproduct of oil production that has long gone unnoticed.
It seems natural that oil companies see new prospects as electric vehicle sales soar and the US government works to establish a local battery supply chain.
The largest oil exporter in the world, Saudi Arabia, has made billion-dollar investments in EV production. It has a majority position in the California-based EV company Lucid Motors. It has teamed up with Foxconn, the iPhone manufacturer with aspirations towards electric vehicles, to introduce Ceer Motors, a domestic EV brand.
Are we going to see an EV world dominated by the same corporations who spearheaded the combustion era? All we can do is wait and see.