Electric vehicles: a slow-motion car crash for oil firms?

Peak oil demand is seen as inevitable, but disagreement abounds on timing

In 2007, Germany’s mighty electric utilities appeared invulnerable: they had the power of incumbency, oligopolistic market positions and deep political and regulatory support. But within a decade, the top two – RWE and E.on – had lost more than 80% of their capitalisation amid a low-carbon transition which, while anticipated and planned for, proved far more disruptive and value-destroying than their executives had ever imagined.

The same fate could await other giants of the energy world: oil

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