Oil majors want a piece of the electric car pie., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize
Oil majors want a piece of the electric car pie., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize

Oil majors want a piece of the electric car pie. Subscribe to Electric Vehicle News Bitesize Podcast for FREE!

While electric vehicles may seem like the last thing the oil and gas industry wants, energy companies are investing heavily in Electric Vehicle technology to avoid missing out on new energy transition opportunities. Oil majors such as Shell, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil, Equinor and BP are all backing Electric Vehicle projects as they add non-traditional energy sectors to their portfolios.

In 2021, several international oil majors acquired Electric Vehicle related companies and technologies, while several automakers announced plans to launch new Electric Vehicle models and eventually move away from internal combustion engine vehicles. The global electric vehicle market is expected to be worth more than £354 billion by 2028, growing at a CAGR of 19%. With the number of electric vehicles expected to increase by 60 million by 2026, it’s no wonder that energy companies are investing in the future of transportation.

In Europe, Shell was just one of the big oil majors to expand its electric vehicle charging network last year. Shell subsidiary ubitricity – which stands for Ubiquitous Electricity – is using innovative technology to improve the use of electric vehicle charging stations, which power cars in cities through lamp posts. Shell’s public charging network, Shell Recharge, expects to have 500,000 charging points globally by 2025, with locations in supermarkets, street charging stations and Electric Vehicle hubs.

Shell has also pioneered an electric vehicle charging station in London and replaced its petrol and diesel pumps with ultra-fast 175kW charging points that can charge a car to around 80 per cent in 30 minutes. This is a global pilot project for the energy company, with the Fulham site built with sustainable materials, showing what the future of motor fuels could look like.

TotalEnergies has set itself a similar goal of building 150,000 charging points for electric vehicles in Europe by 2025. The oil giant already has around 22,000 charging points in the Amsterdam area, 3,000 in Antwerp, 1,700 in London, 2,300 in Paris, 1,500 in Singapore and 11,000 in Wuhan. In November 2021, the company committed more than €210 million to equip its roughly 150 motorway and two-lane service stations in France with high-capacity electric vehicle charging stations.

In the United States, ExxonMobil is gradually developing products to support a growing number of electric vehicles. The company has launched its MovilEV line of fluids and greases designed to provide electric vehicles with longer travel between charging, extending the life of equipment components and promoting safer operation.

In addition to electric vehicles, ExxonMobil is exploring the potential of low-carbon fuels to power future transportation. In April, Porsche announced a $75 million investment agreement with HIF Global and partners including Siemens Energy and ExxonMobil to develop eFuels — synthetic, low-carbon compounds the company plans to use in several of its vehicles. ExxonMobil supports Porsche’s goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030, investing in the automaker’s use of hydrogen and carbon dioxide, and developing fuels from wind energy.

Other energy companies are taking a different approach to the electric vehicle market, investing in raw materials for battery production. In November, Equinor announced an investment in Lithium de France for battery development. Lithium de France combines zero-carbon geothermal power generation with the extraction of lithium from hot brine deep underground to provide the raw material needed to make lithium batteries.

Last year, Equinor also announced a $130 million investment in U.S. firm Solid Power, which develops all-solid-state batteries for electric vehicles. The BMW Group and Ford are also partnering with Solid Power to purchase all-solid-state batteries for their new Electric Vehicle models. Equinor believes the development of all-solid-state batteries could bring low-cost Electric Vehicle batteries to market.

But when it comes to electric vehicles, BP is leading the charge, announcing in March a £1 billion investment in electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the UK. The investment will be implemented over 10 years to triple the number of charging stations by 2030. The company’s electric vehicle charging business, BP Pulse, is expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the market and help accelerate the UK electric vehicle market by developing fast and ultra-fast chargers in key locations.

In April, BP announced a multi-year deal with Tritium, sending Electric Vehicle shares higher. Tritium will supply nearly 1,000 chargers for the UK, Australia and New Zealand markets. Shares of the Nasdaq-listed company rose more than 12% following the announcement. BP’s investment plan is closely linked to the UK government’s electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, which aims to have at least 300,000 public charging stations by 2030.

While many of the world’s largest energy companies continue to invest heavily in oil and gas operations, they also recognize the inevitability of energy transitions in the coming decades. Several international players are now investing in the future of energy and transport, ensuring that their portfolios are diversified to remain relevant for years to come.

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Oil majors want a piece of the electric car pie., Electric Vehicle News Bitesize
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