Jan 10, 2019 - Energy & Environment

Exxon mulling investing in electric-vehicle charging

Exxon gas station

Photo: Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

ExxonMobil Corp. is actively considering whether to invest in electric-charging stations, according to an Atlantic Council report published this week.

Why it matters: Most other international oil and gas companies have at least token investments in electric-charging infrastructure, but Exxon has been an outlier among its peers in this space. Exxon's possible change of heart reflects Big Oil’s recognition that the world is transitioning away (albeit slowly) from oil-powered cars as part of a broader shift in the energy industry's response to climate change.

Details: The nugget is included in a table within a new 14-page report by David Koranyi, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. Koranyi told Axios that he spoke with Exxon officials, along with officials at other companies, as he was writing the paper on oil companies' diversification away from their traditional products.

  • Exxon said that “they are actively considering investments into EV charging infrastructure,” according to Koranyi.
  • Exxon did not immediately respond to an Axios request for comment.

The big picture: Andrew Logan, who directs the oil and gas program at Ceres, a nonprofit that advocates more sustainable investing, said this would be a surprise move, in part because Exxon has been among the least ambitious with its forecasts on adoption rates of electric cars — less so than even OPEC, the cartel of Middle Eastern oil-producing nations.

“While this would be a small step, it would be a sign that Exxon — long the most bearish of the oil majors on electric vehicles — is capable of changing its mind. Along with recent shifts like the company's decision to join OGCI [the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative] and set methane reduction targets, steps the company had long resisted, this move suggests that a cultural shift may be underway.”
— Andrew Logan, Ceres

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