It’s no surprise that the auto giants are getting serious about electric cars. In 2015, sales of such vehicles leapt by 70 per cent to bring the total number humming quietly along to 1.15 million. That’s still a tiny portion of the global fleet of about 900 million, but the quickening growth rates look impressive. China, the world’s biggest car market, has imposed tough new targets, with 8 per cent of new cars due to be electric by 2018 and 12 per cent by 2020, compared with only about 1 per cent last year. Those targets probably won’t be met, but Norway, the world leader, where 23 per cent of vehicles sold last year were plug-ins, shows what is possible. What does this mean for oil consumption? Should big oil companies be fearful about the growing taste for plug-in cars over gas-guzzlers? Not very, according to the International Energy Agency, which claims that oil demand will keep on rising until 2040, mainly because of a lack of obvious alternatives in road freight, aviation and petrochemicals.
Times 12th Dec 2016 read more »