Why This Big Oil CEO Is Buying an Electric Car
Ben Van Beurden is swapping big oil for big batteries.
The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (which, among other things, operates Shell gas stations) says he is giving up on gas-powered vehicles. Van Beurden tells Bloomberg he plans to swap out his diesel car for an electric vehicle later this year.
Van Beurden plans to start driving a Mercedes Benz S500e in September and says the world in general needs to move to a higher percentage of electric vehicles to keep global warming at bay—and he expects to see demand for fossil fuels start to waver in the next couple of decades.
“If policies and innovation really work well, I can see liquids peaking in demand in the early 2030s and maybe oil will peak a little bit earlier if there’s a lot of biofuels coming into the mix as well,” Van Beurden said.
To prepare for that, Shell is pivoting to focus on hydrogen fuels and biofuels for airlines and heavy freight vehicles. In the meantime, demand for gas continues to drive profits; the company beat earnings expectations earlier this week.
While it’s certainly unusual for a gas company CEO to eschew a gas-powered vehicle, it’s not entirely surprising. Before taking the corner office, Van Beurden is the first to do so spent his days on the operations and technology side of Shell.
The CEO is the second top exec at Shell to make the jump to an electric vehicle: CFO Jessica Uhl drives a BMW i3.