The biggest oil companies in the world think that very few, if any, of today’s motorists will see electric vehicles outnumber gasoline and diesel vehicles in their lifetimes. While politicians and green groups throughout the world insist the future is electric, both BP and Exxon claim electric vehicles will only make up 5% of all vehicles globally in the next 30 years.
The oil companies’ forecasts may be self-serving but their research claims electric vehicles will not end our addiction to oil, and they have dismissed the major breakthrough in battery technology that may give electric vehicles a cost and performance edge over the internal combustion engine. The research published by Exxon and BP, Europe’s second-largest oil company, are the most detailed long-term forecast on electric vehicle take-up in the future.
The expected continued dominance of fossil fuels explains why BP and Shell have scaled back their solar, hydrogen and wind power ambitions and also Exxon’s reluctance to get involved in renewable energy at all. If the oil companies are wrong about electric vehicles they will find their huge investment in expensive oil production not paying off. A recent survey of auto industry executives gave an average forecast for electric vehicles to account for 10% of global auto sales by 2025, a better forecast than Exxon and BP but hardly a revolution. BP and Shell also predict that neither consumers, nor carmakers, will get over ‘range anxiety’ and they do not share the optimism of Renault and Nissan chief executives who have repeatedly said more and more motorists will be getting car insurance quotes for electric vehicles in the next decade.
Jos Dings, Director of a sustainable transport campaign group reacted with suspicion to the oil industry forecasts, he said: “They would say that, wouldn’t they. A big take-up of electric cars is not something they would like to see. The future for petrol and diesel doesn’t look good.”