Tesla Will Lead Electric Cars To True Competition With Big Oil


Tesla Model S sedans and Model X SUVs at a Supercharging station


Tesla Motors continues to lead the electric vehicle revolution.  The Tesla Model S was 2016’s best selling electric vehicle in the US. Between the Model S and X, Tesla owns nearly 30% market share of all electric vehicles sold in this country. And, it’s not just the US. It turns out that the Tesla Model S was the best-selling plug-in electric car worldwide. That said, could Elon Musk and Tesla Motors lead an electric vehicle revolution that could eventually pose a threat to Big Oil? And… does Big Oil see any threat coming?

*This article comes to us courtesy of Evannex (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman.

Investors sense that change is coming. The Financial Times reported that the threat of electric cars could create an ‘investor death spiral’ for oil companies. In the meantime, Tesla Motors stock has been steadily rising. Oil Price* just reported on the EV threat citing, “gains in battery technologies – energy density, power density and cost reduction – [which] are even more impressive” especially when you consider that projects like Tesla’s Gigafactory have just started producing battery cells.

Oil Price reminds us that, “by now we all know the Henry Ford story and how the ‘horseless carriage’ was relegated to museums. But let’s be intellectually honest: The old nag in the stable had about as much chance to compete against a Model T as a slide rule could against a digital calculator. Or a paper map against a GPS chip; or a phone booth against an iPhone. In all these cases, the new product steamrolled over a weak incumbent.” Could electric vehicles pose this same threat to gas-guzzling cars?

Tesla Model S

One oil giant admits a massive transformation coming. It’s reported that:

“BP has come out with its own predictions for the future, and they too seem convinced that electric vehicles will see rapid and sustained growth. More precisely, they are predicting a 100-fold increase by 2035, moving from a mere 1 million cars on the road today to 100 million globally.”

Peter Tertzakian, Chief Energy Economist and Managing Director at ARC Financial, concludes:

“This is one of the most dramatic moments I’ve experienced in my 35-year career studying all energy systems. The technological change is breath-taking; the investment potential is staggering; and on top of it all, the business psychology is intriguing… This is going to be one of the most exciting business duels in history; two giant energy systems will be competing for the hearts and wheels of the people.”

*Source: Oil Price

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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46 Comments on "Tesla Will Lead Electric Cars To True Competition With Big Oil"

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Very dramatic. But true, I believe EVs will replace all ICEs in most sectors, especially vehicles designed for road travel as opposed to heavy equipment like road graders etc.

Oil companies have two basic choices, one to convince customers that BEVs are a bad idea and they should stick with ICEs or go with FCVs (because oil companies will then sell H2 instead of gasoline). The other choice is to focus on there non-fuel businesses like lubricants, plastics etc. and I hope they choose the latter.

Nailed it…oil companies should focus on non-fuel products, after all, EVs need lubricants, plastics, roads, tires etc…

I sincerely hope so … our health, environment, climate, and possibly the survival of our species depend on booting out Big Oil … the sooner the better!

The numbers do not add up.
To have 100m cars on the road in twenty years, you have to add an average of 5m cars between now and 2035. With 100m cars sold each year (now a little less, but most of the time more) you need an increase in marketshare of 0.5% per year.

With the arrival of the Bolt, Leaf II, Model3, Zoe40 and some other less known models in this and next year, that increase is imminent.

But the adaptation of a new technology follows always an S-curve. The most pessimistic S-curve predictions are still over 50% marketshare in 2035. That is over 50million new BEV every year.

Is doing the math some arcane science?

I, too, felt that just 100M EVs world on the roads wide wasn’t high enough. By 2035 we could see all new cars being sold are EVs.

By 2035 governments will have banned the sale of new ICE cars, and by that time people will not want them anyway.

It does seem that very nearly all these predictions assume straight-line growth in sales of PEVs (Plug-in EVs), which as you say is not even remotely realistic.

But to be fair, I think it’s going to take a few more years before we can clearly see any exponential growth trend. At the moment, we have too few data points for a projection with a reasonable chance of being even approximately correct. Auto sales are highly seasonal, so we have to rely on annual totals. That means we get only one meaningful data point per year. 🙁 And even at that, only global sales totals are meaningful. As Jay Cole has pointed out, North American sales totals are dominated by the top few models. Therefore, in my opinion, any underlying trend is mathematically swamped, and doesn’t show on a graph.

I think that when Workplace Charging gets above 5% of their parking, Condo’s and Apartments become more EV supporting, and have Level 2 Charging installed at 3.3 kW to 6.6 kW, and DC QC’s are seen to be evenly spaced at 30-40 mile intervals on Freeways, in multiple units per site, and the current new 200 mile range EV’s start getting traded in and sold as relatively new used vehicles for under $20,000.00; the sub 100 mile range EV’s sell used under $10,000.00, is when it will be when coworkers start telling each other about their new EV, and taking them for rides, giving more test rides and drives than dealers do, is when we Will notice increases of doubling in sales under a year!

Tesla currently is doubling every 2nd year, and about to crank that up, too! So, within 2-3 years, this will begin to be noticeable, and in 3-4 years common people will notice!

Weirdly, the author of this article uses the treehugger.com and ARC investor perspective of the BP study rather than the BP study itself. BP (like Exxon Mobil and Chevron) point to a very fast rate of growth in EVs. They state that of all plug-ins, BEV purchases will soon outstrip the PHEV by 2 or 3 to one. They also point to average ICE fuel economy reaching 50mpg or more. Finally all the oil companies end up pointing to only a 35% rise in oil consumption to support a doubling of GDP. I haven’t found a single projection by one of the majors that says anything much different. Is this only now news to the EV press? What the author also misses is that the oil companies project – as does pretty much every global technology consulting firm and most developed economy national studies – a world-wide auto fleet that more than doubles by the 2035 study endpoint. One hundred million Plug-Ins will comprise about 6% of the world fleet, and this at a pace close to what the most enthusiastic EV proponents opine. The 65% rise in new ICE fleet fuel economies worldwide will have a far greater impact… Read more »

Would someone else please refute. I mean if it was 1 or 2 points, but the whole thing is a mess.

Go ahead and refute, ff. But when you do make sure you get my point: (1) The article doesn’t quote or link to the BP study. It links to an evannex article that links to a treehugger article (see the evannex artcle paragraph beginning with the sentence “One oil giant admits a massive transformation coming”). Why not link to the BP study to see the whole projection by BP rather than a version of a version of it? I think insideevs can do that and serve their readers better. (2) The oil companies have been saying this for a couple of years now, starting with XOM. Not new news, and certainly not shockingly so. (3) 100M EVs in 2035 are projected by BP to roughly double (+/- a few points). Their words: “In the base case forecast, the global car fleet is expected to double from 0.9 billion cars in 2015 to 1.8 billion by 2035 as rising incomes and improving road infrastructure boosts car ownership. Within the same timeframe, the non-OECD fleet will triple – from 0.4 billion cars to 1.2 billion. Overall, global demand for car travel roughly doubles over the course of the Energy Outlook. The number… Read more »

Well, I blew (3). Meant to say “100M EVs in 2035 are projected by BP in a global auto fleet that roughly doubles.” Bad editing again; sorry.

Overall, EV’s are likely not keeping up with some versions of Global Vehicle Sales Growth, but in some countries, EV sales will likely reach 50% of Vehicle Sales in either this yeay or next! That they will lead as the first to reach 75% EV’s is obvious! The another country will follow them, and the first Country to reach 100% of new vehicle sales, could well be Norway!

As Country after Country reaches EV sales at 100% of new Vehicle Sales, the ICE Dominos will start to fall at an accelerated pace!

I suggest the initial date to be just as close as 3-4 years away, and the longest date being just 5-7 years away, for the first Country selling, based mostly on demand, 100% of new Vehicle Sales, as Plug in Vehicles! Within 3-4 years later, cars will only be BEV, and PHEV will be light trucks, SUV’s, and Heavier Vehicles!

I don’t see PHEV Car Sales going beyond 2030: I see all BEV’s sold for cars, CUV’s, and even Light Trucks, by 2030-2032.

Electric Battery Powered Buses wil show riders that EV’s are better than Diesel or Gas vehicles, and when they buy cars, will get BEV’s!

They key thing here is exponentially falling cost of EV tech and renewable energy. Of course Tesla is not going to replace all ICE cars by itself but as costs decrease EVs will become more popular and more car manufacturers will dedicate more and more resources to producing EVs. That in turn pushes cost down more, money put into research will increase, EVs become even better and before too long the ICE car will simply be obsolete in every respect.

Try Argonne labs projecting 58% electric penetration by 2030. But that is way way too pessimistic. Tony Seba pointed at 2022 as the point at which battery backed solar would be cheaper than the cost of power transmission on a per khw basis with base load even worse for petrol comparisons. That is the point at which even if petrol were free it wouldn’t sell. There are places already where solar is 3 cents a kwh or 40% below that free point. Petrol will never be competitive again and already faces a profitless future. Tesla just announced it hit $124 a kwh for its car batteries when the USG said in 2010 that $125 would be the parity price without subsidies for electrics. Where we go quickly from here is 5 min charges,1000 mile ranges, the recharge life cycle is already overcome. Electrics now have unlimited mile warranties. Basically electrics will superior in every way imaginable and will take over every system on land, air, sea that isn’t rocket powered. Gas cars aren’t even suitable for self driving. Fuel cells are comparatively idiotic (they suck on performance and always will and their supply line negates their green claimes. The Trump… Read more »

“Tesla just announced it hit $124 a kwh for its car batteries…”

Tesla announced no such thing. This is a bad meme and needs to be stepped on rather hard.

The “less than $124” figure is merely what one writer who published an article at Electrek inferred from what Tesla said (link).

I regard that as little more than wishful thinking. The generally understood meaning, when referring to reduction in battery cost in this context, is the reduction over time compared to what the same company was paying in a previous year. In this case, Tesla appears to mean a 35% reduction as compared to what Tesla was paying Panasonic when the Model S first went into production, in 2012.

“…by the 2035 study endpoint. One hundred million Plug-Ins will comprise about 6% of the world fleet, and this at a pace close to what the most enthusiastic EV proponents opine.”

If you think “the most enthusiastic EV proponents” estimate only 6% (or less) of the world fleet of “light vehicles” will be EVs, 19 years from now, then you must not know very many enthusiastic EV proponents!

I would hope that by that time, at least 20% of the light vehicles on the road will be PEVs, and that PEVs will be more than 33% of new car/light truck sales.

Again, we’re talking about exponential growth. Not linear growth.

Yawn. The basic facts site shift around a lot depending on what angle you are playing. Not long ago you reported that the LEAF was the biggest BEV seller last year with some 96k. Now its the MS with half that. Forgive me for stopping reading at that point.

The Leaf was the worlds best seller last year with ~52 000 sold (including the rebranded Venucia e30 in China).

The Model S was number two with ~51 000 sold.

There was some motion in the global Nissan numbers between the first report of the LEAF being the best selling, and the updated/adjusted report.

Originally, going by global registrations (as reported by the countries and auto agencies themselves) it appeared that the LEAF was first. However those can lag the actual point of sale/accounting of the sale by weeks to a up to a month depending the region, so some reported registration data for 2016 was actually logged in December of 2015 as evidenced by Nissan’s FY 2016 disclosures.

…the bottom line? It was a very close race.

Sidenote: We never “reported that the LEAF was the biggest BEV seller last year with some 96k“, the Renault/Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance reported that 94,265 EVs were sold cumulatively between them, which is what we reported.

The original story that we passed along (via EV Sales Blogspot) was that Nissan had bested the Model S by a few hundred units (at over 51k), but this report (based on manual tallies via registration data) came out a ~week or so before Renault-Nissan decided to disclose full year 2016 numbers (as referenced above).

Was the reporting with or without the Venucia sales?

Is there somewhere that I can find those disclosures?

I have now checked myself. The 49 200 are withouth the Chinese sales. So with the 2k added for China with the rebadged Venucia e30 the Leaf is the global top seller of 2016.

It’s like not counting Ampera-E sales into the Bolt sales.

The 96k sales figure corresponds to combined Renault Nissan Alliance sales for 2016.

Actually, it’s worth a read:


That said, “electric” in BP’s definition includes PHEV, which some folks ’round here don’t consider to be electric vehicles. BP expects “electrics,” in aggregate, to max out at 6% of the global fleet (including PHEVs) by 2025. I think hybrids and PHEVs will be higher, myself, because regen is profoundly, inherently smart.

Most interesting part of BP’s position is their projection that China continues its abandonment of coal. And BP has proven prophetic already. Not much reported was that China just punished N. Korea this weekend for the nuclear ballistic missile test by refusing coal exports from N. Korea for the rest of 2017. That is a Very Big Deal. Coal is one of the few ways the regime in Pyongyang can trade labor for a reserve currency. This cuts N. Korean coal exports in half, and may further tip China towards EVs.

Oops. I meant “by 2035” (~20 years from now). Not 2025.

China is doing many good things these days. Stopping the coal imports from N.Korea boosted their credibility even more in my opinion. A communist country that SEEMS to care more about their citizens than the US does now. Of course there’s always ‘more to the story’, so don’t make any big deal out of this if you have more knowledge than I. (you likely do)

I don’t know any more than you do. It’s not like I have a ski condo in the DPRK, though I’m sure the lift lines are blissfully short. 🙂 No, I’d merely Googled the actual BP report, and shared it here for others. Thank you, though. I’m just a guy in a car. But I’ll go ahead and be an agent provocateur: Let’s say BP is right, and (x)EV’s will become 6% of vehicles by 2035. Hell, let’s quadruple BP’s projection and call it ~25% by 2035. Wouldn’t it make far more sense for my fellow EV proponents in this forum to advocate higher adoption of (especially) PHEVs in the other 75% of vehicles during the next 20-40 years? This forum seems to have an awful lot of BEV purists. IMHO, the real target is that 75% (or is it 94%?) worldwide majority of ICE vehicles. Let’s improve those, since we all breathe the same air. To my way of thinking, it’s better to get CAFE up to 80mpg among willing, delighted participants than it is to get 6% (or even 25%) of vehicles to be 100% BEV electric, with the rest of ’em exempted as “light trucks” in the… Read more »

Too rational with insufficient invective and poopslinging, but otherwise a good post.

😀 😀 😀

+ infinity-plus-one

BTW: your 50mi/80km AER means almost never burning fuel to ~80% of N. American drivers. It means zero emissions in virtually all urban driving scenarios. And with an ICE at the ready it means supercharging takes 5 minutes with today’s technology.

I live in a place where winters get nasty, and I make more occasional 200mi+ trips than the average dude, yet I’ve managed 140mpg in the 6000mi I’ve put on my new-to-me 2013 Volt. While it’s a competent car the 2017 blows it away for fuel use, and the industry is on the cusp of eclipsing that.

What needs to happen is to democratize the 50mi AER PHEV at a faster pace than the industry has made to bring a 200mi BEV to the upper middle class (which of course is your point said a bit differently).

these articles by evannex are simply not credible. yes, insideevs does note that the source has a vested interest in promoting electric vehicles, and yes, i get it that “news aggregators” (such as breitbart and the drudge report) hide behind the boilerplate disclaimer about how they are just “passing articles along”. but if all insideevs wants to do is pass on junk articles, why isn’t evannex on the byline instead of steven loveday? because the latter implies that the insideevs editors are endorsing this garbage.

Another country heard from, but it’s the same old story the same old song and dance.

It is not garbage, the Big Oil is threatening to implant chips into everybody’s brain and take over the world poisoning everybody with chemtrails! Only Saint Elon can save us with his miraculous $100k cars!

Pu-pu will come here and confirm it if you don’t believe. Don’t let Big Oil shills, shorters and fudsters to distract your from the true revolutionary cause!

Elon 2020! just print up a fake birth certificate and he’s in.

One of the posts above was accused of being “Too rational with insufficient invective and poopslinging…”

I see you’re eager to address that imbalance, zzzzzzzzzz. 🙄

I pulled this useful info from a chart in the article linked below.

$170 per kWh for both cylindrical cells and pouch cells at the end of 2016.

By 2022:
$140 per kWh for cylindrical cells.
$100 per kWh for pouch cells.

By 2025:
$120 per kWh for cylindrical cells.
$80 per kWh for pouch cells.

Lithium-ion Battery Showdown; Is Tesla About To Be Overpowered?

Here comes the EV revolution!!

All the oil majors cook their models and refuse to state their input assumptions and the result is always increased oil demand forever.

If you do the math any reasonable way global driving miles can increase and oil demand peaks in like 5 years or less.

Cf the Imperial study or BNEF

And they will lie to their shareholders until the latter get wise

In other words…

While EVs were expensive, short range or both, the global fleet has grown 100x in the last 6 years, to two million.

BP predicts that now that we have cheap long-range EVs, the number will grow another 50x over the next 18 years.


Yep, couldn’t agree more despite zzzzz and other oil shills.

Oil companies’ “projections” are not worth the paper they are printed on.

While obviously the total switchover will take time, what wasn’t mentioned here is that increasing effects of global warming as well as air pollution will lead to far more Governments to restrict oil-burners through city bans, carbon taxes, etc.

Also, with gas stations running on such small margins it will only take a so much reduction in gasoline sales for fairly large numbers of gas stations to start closing because of a lack of profitably.

This will lead to a negative feedback loop for new oil burner sales as the opposite effect will happen with widespread charging systems roll outs will boost EV uptake in a positive feedback loop.

In ~5 years battery electric cars will be far superior to ICE cars in every way, including price, resulting in new car sales being essentially all battery electric. Replacement of ICE cars already on the road may take another 20 years.

Not so fast.

By 2025 EV market share it expected to be beween 6-10%.

I’m not saying that won’t really take off, but it’s going to be a realistic curve upwards.

Nearly all new cars will be BEVs in only ~5 years?

That’s highly unrealistic. The money simply isn’t there for all auto makers to switch all their production over to BEVs that quickly, nor is the money there to build out new battery production factories at even remotely that fast a pace.

Now, if you wish to claim that BEVs might achieve price parity with gasmobiles in only 5 years, that might be possible. But automobile manufacturing is a capital-intensive business, and even markets in an exponential growth phase don’t grow from only 1% to near 100% in only ~5 years.

It would be useful to compare to growth in the cell phone market. It certainly took cellphones more than 5 years to grow from 1% to 90% of telephone sales, even with cell phones benefiting from Moore’s Law and the rapid pace of improvements in microprocessor tech.

The EV revolution is dependent on the much slower pace of improvements in batteries, and for PEVs to reach 90-95% of the market will take considerably longer than it did for cellphones to reach 90-95% of the telephone market.

The Oil Companies have been enjoying many things lately:
1) Consumer ignorance of EVs
2) High price of batteries
3) poor charging infrastructure
4) lack of compelling models and body styles to choose from
5) lack of enthusiasm on the part of the manufacturers.

Tesla, with the imminent introduction of the Model 3 has basically pulled the rest of the industry along kicking and screaming. All 5 of those issues I mentioned are in the process of going away and within 5 years they will be gone. The oil companies will be in trouble. If I were them, I’d start investing in battery tech and charging infrastructure. That way when the oil (for fuel) market dries up, they will be able to make money elsewhere.

Yeah I don’t see that happening as long as the price gap between electric cars and gas cars are as wide as the Pacific Ocean. I’m on the verge of buying a Nissan Leaf 2013 with 20k miles on it for $4995. Even though they came out at a price of over $30,000 just four years ago. In other words electric cars aren’t seriously competitive yet. But if I get this Nissan Leaf, I’ll be a huge step closer two getting off my gas addiction.

And enhancing the fact that at the right price point, an EV can work for even more people! Plus, showing the way forward in used EV’s is a viable option!

This could go so much faster than what any company would ever care to admit.

EVs are only a few years away from catching up with internal combustion in terms of cost and convenience and once there is no longer any excuse for tailpipe emissions governments in some of the major carmarkets are unlikely stand for it any longer and demand all cars to be zero emission. Not that there will be much need for mandates once EVs are just cheaper to run.

What’s next? Will someone try to arrange a “cage match” between Elon Musk and the current CEO of Exxon?

Economic forces are powerful indeed, but the EV revolution is going to take some years to play out; perhaps decades. And there’s no guarantee that Tesla will still be leading that economic revolution when even die-hard gear-heads finally admit the gasmobile is obsolete.

I certainly hope Tesla will succeed long term. But looking back at the history of disruptive tech revolutions, it’s not always the early disrupter who wins out in the long run. Early disrupter BlackBerry didn’t “win” the smart phone tech revolution; it was the “fast followers”, the iPhone and Android, who won out. BlackBerry survives only in a marginal niche.

I don’t see any fast followers challenging Tesla… yet. But in 5-7 years, things may look very different.