Mar 7, 2018

Shell CEO drives an electric car — and just bought another one

HOUSTON — The CEO of Shell, one of the world’s biggest oil and natural gas companies, drives an electric car, just bought his wife another one and is installing a charging station at his home.

Why it matters: Shell’s chief executive, Ben van Beurden, is one of the most outspoken CEOs within the oil and gas industry when it comes to cutting carbon emissions and changing business strategies to do so. He’s putting some personal heft behind his rhetoric by driving an electric car and buying one for his wife.

To be sure: Shell is seeking to make money off the world’s shift to lower carbon energy resources. The charging station that will be at van Beurden’s home is made by NewMotion. Shell bought that company last year.

“It [NewMotion] has about 50,000 charging points at home and offices throughout Europe... And soon one will be added to it, which is my home address.”
— Van Beurden told Axios in an interview on the sidelines of a major energy conference

Flashback: Van Beurden first made waves about driving an electric car last summer, per this Bloomberg report. He currently drives a plug-in Mercedes company car. His more recent, personal purchase is a different brand, but he wouldn’t disclose the kind.

The big picture: In a speech at the CERAWeek conference here, van Beurden called climate change the greatest question facing the industry and laid out why and how he was changing his company’s strategy and products to respond to the challenge.

"There are plenty of questions facing our industry. The ongoing impact of shale. OPEC. The debate on LNG supplies. Geopolitical shifts. Plenty of questions. But I believe the biggest of them is climate change.”

What’s next: Stay tuned for more from our exclusive Axios interview with van Beurden.

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