Pardon my cynicism, but what if the oil industry's interest in EV charging stations is not simply a relatively benign profit motive?

If an industry which sees its primary source of profits being threatened by EVs takes control of a significant part of the charging infrastructure, what is to stop them from just turning them off randomly and eventually removing them due 'to lack of demand'? (Like how there is a 'lack of demand' for EVs in the car-buying public today.)

GM certainly did not do an effective job of maintaining their inductive public chargers while leasing the EV-1 in the 1990s when their profits were tied to selling gasoline and diesel vehicles.

What happens to the perception of EVs for potential buyers if public charging stations are frequently out of service, or start being removed as 'not cost effective' or experiencing 'lack of demand'?

If the oil industry is truly on-board with EVs, why aren't they buying electric car makers? That would be a big investment and a big vote that the oil industry sees EVs as inevitable.

If the oil industry wants to sustain their 'fast-fueling-at-owned-commercial-locations' business model as transportation fuel shifts to electricity, why is there not a massive campaign to install fast charging stations at their existing properties where their future electric car charging patrons are already refueling their gasoline and diesel vehicles (as they have in places with propane)?

(I have seen some stories about Petro-Canada and Shell dipping their toes into this niche, but nothing resembling a wholesale strategy to enable such a shift. Petro-Canada's installations do seem to coincide with government incentive programs.)

Installing fast chargers at every property they already own for petroleum refuelling would also be a big investment and signal to potential EV buyers.

However, if my objective was to be able to create as much disruption as possible to EV refueling for the minimum investment (acquiring a choke-hold), I would be buying a controlling interest in just the charging network operators, and skipping the big bets on actually paying for fixed capital assets.

And as I read the news to date, for the most part, that is what the oil majors are doing.

Darryl McMahon

On 2/17/2019 9:53 AM, wrote:
Message: 2
Date: Sun, 17 Feb 2019 01:25:49 -0600 (CST)
From: brucedp5<>
Subject: [EVDL] Oil &utilities buying up charging> fossil
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8
Oil companies and utilities are buying up all the electric car charging
February 5, 2019  Michael J. Coren

For decades, oil and gas companies and utilities dismissed electric cars.
Now, the old petroleum and power giants are muscling into the driver?s seat
of the ?new fuels? industry.

It?s projected to be a big business. McKinsey counts more than 350 new
electric vehicle (EV) models debuting by 2025, one of the conditions for
mass-market adoption. Global demand for gasoline is set to peak around 2021
thanks to electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel efficiency gains. The energy
research and consultancy Wood Mackenzie predicts  charging infrastructure
investment in the US will exceed $18 billion annually by 2030 for equipment,
installation, operations, and services. China is expected to have three
times more energy demand from EVs by then.

Now, fossil fuel incumbents want in. They?re investing heavily or outright
acquiring electrical infrastructure needed to supply the millions of
electric vehicles (EVs) expected in the next few years. Although just 2.2%
of the world?s vehicles are electric, a record 2 million or so EVs were sold
last year amid exponential growth.

While the numbers aren?t huge yet?for example, Shell?s $1 billion in
renewable energy and EV investments amounts amounts to just 4% of its annual
capital expenditures?they?re growing fast. Globally, $334 billion was
invested in global clean energy in 2017, reports BNEF (pdf)

Public charging infrastructure is ramping up almost everywhere, and each
region has its own unique mix of players, says Bloomberg New Energy Finance
(BNEF). In Europe, 79% of the public charging infrastructure is operated by
utilities and oil companies. In the US, 62% of the market is managed by
pure-play EV operators. In China, equipment manufacturers control the

So far, European firms are making the biggest moves. The most recent move
was Royal Dutch Shell?s purchase of Greenlots, a startup offering software
and services for EV charging networks. The British-Dutch oil giant says it
will use Greenlot?s technology, which combines software to optimize battery
charging and grid balancing services in one charging platform, to build the
?foundation? of its EV business in North America. The company is pouring
about $1 billion a year into such deals, according to BNEF, including the
acquisition of 30,000 charging stations in Western Europe, as well as a $31
million investment into EV charging startup Ample in 2018.

Last year, France?s Total closed a deal for G2mobility, which offers EV
charging solutions, as well as a $1.7 billion deal for Direct Energie,
making it a major electricity retailer in France as well. Ultimately,
Reuters reports, Total wants to grow its ?low-carbon energy assets? from 5%
of the total today to 20% by 2035. Most of Europe?s biggest oil firms now
have a hand in renewable energy, power trading, energy storage, retail
electricity sales, grid management, or EV charging.

?In Europe, the line between utilities and oil and gas companies is getting
a bit blurry,? said Colin McKerracher of BNEF at its summit in San Francisco
on Feb. 4. ?The oil and gas companies in Europe see where this stuff is
going and want to ensure they are not missing out on it. ? It?s not just a
downside hedge.?

The US is a different story. Companies like Chevron and ExxonMobil are just
starting to edge into utilities? traditional territory. Last year, Chevron
participated in a $240 million round for ChargePoint, a network of
independently owned charging spots, valued at $1.5 billion, according to
Pitchbook.  The utility American Electric Power and German automaker Daimler
invested alongside the oil giant.

Most active are US utilities, with many partnering directly with car
companies. Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego
Gas & Electric, and New Jersey?s PSE&G have partnered with carmakers to
offer thousands of dollars in rebates for BMW, Nissan, and other brands.
California?s Pacific Gas & Electric, New York?s Consolidated Edison, the
southeast?s Duke Energy Company, and others covering almost every state are
lobbying Congress to extend EV tax credits. Pacific Gas and Electric is busy
investing in thousands of fast-charging stations around the state.

<snip additional articles>

Darryl McMahon

Darryl McMahon
Freelance Project Manager (sustainable systems)
Please discuss EV drag racing at NEDRA (

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