This is why oil companies and utilities are buying into renewables

THIS PICTURE IS 6 OF 25 TO ACCOMPANY INSIGHT "ELECTRIC-CAR/BIG OIL". SEARCH IN YOUR PICTURE SYSTEM FOR KEYWORD "ELECTRIC VEHICLES" TO SEE ALL IMAGES. (PXP310-334)A sign is painted on a parking space for electric cars inside a car park in Hong Kong January 29, 2012. Many of the headlines out of autoshows in the past couple of years have been captured by the launch of electric cars such as Nissan's Leaf, the Tesla sports car, plug-ins like General Motors' Chevrolet Volt, and the latest incarnation of the Toyota Prius. Other manufacturers including BMW, Rolls Royce and Porsche have presented electric-powered prototypes. On the basis of this, one could be forgiven for thinking the auto industry is betting big on electric power. Yet few auto executives share the optimism of Renault and Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn who has repeatedly said he sees electric vehicles making up 10 percent of all sales in 2020. A survey of 200 auto industry executives conducted by KPMG released on Monday gave an average forecast for electric vehicles to account for 6-10 percent of global auto sales in 2025, more bullish than oil companies BP and Exxon who expect electric cars to make up no more than 4-5 percent of all cars globally in 20-30 years. Picture taken January 29, 2012.   To match Insight ELECTRIC-CAR/BIG OIL    REUTERS/Tyrone Siu (CHINA  - Tags: BUSINESS ENERGY ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY) - GM1E8211OVW01

Oil and gas companies are now investing heavily in electric vehicle charging companies. Image: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Michael J. Coren
Reporter, Quartz
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