BP & Shell have bought electric car charging companies

I’m tempted to laugh. I’m tempted to wonder cynically if they’re just appeasing progressive shareholders, or will they try to buy all the electric car charging companies and close them. But none of that is possible anymore.

In fact it’s their own analysts who are predicting the massive transportation disruption. A Bloomberg article reports that BP Plc says electric vehicle sales will surge by 8,800 percent between 2017 and 2040, and that the oil companies are taking a serious run at the car charging business.

projected electric vehicle market

As an environmentalist I am applauding big oil for peaking out from beneath the bedcovers at the real future, and proposing an actual strategy. Sadly it’s a horrible strategy, unless they plan to buy electric utilities too. Making electricity will earn more money over time than installing a bunch of charging hardware.

The charging hardware market will be saturated within about 5 years, given that most people will charge their cars, like their phones, at home. Electricity has a much more promising future, although the margins are unlikely to ever be like the glory days of fossil fuels, because distributed generation will always be lurking as a viable foil to centralized power profiteers.


But bravo to the oil companies, for thinking about shifting from dirty fossil fuels to clean electricity. One thing everyone in the energy business has its eye on is the expected growth of the energy market in total. The UN says we’ll need 50% more energy within about 11 years.

The old men are finally waking up. Maybe David Koch’s retirement and Warren Buffett’s lethargy has made them realize it’s time to park their gazillions in the next wave, and maybe consider laying off the costly DC lobbyists. Populism is as volatile as the commodity markets anyway.

The Bloomberg article can be found here.


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