You don't need a degree in economics to realise that the electric vehicle industry and the fossil fuel industry are not best pals, although oil companies haven't seemed that bothered by EVs up until now.
Maybe because they thought battery-electric vehicles would never catch on, or maybe because they believed ignoring EVs was the best strategy, oil companies have refrained from making many comments on electric vehicles. But with electric vehicles gaining popularity in recent years, Big Oil may be pulling out the big guns.
For example, ExxonMobil, one of the world's largest publicly traded international oil and gas companies, has launched a new brand campaign for its Mobil 1 synthetic motor oil brand titled "Breaking Free."
The campaign is headlined by a commercial that Mobil 1 describes as an invitation for "consumers nationwide to step away from their devices and celebrate the love of driving together." While that appears to suggest the ad does not target EVs directly, battery-powered cars are the first thing that pop into your head as a viewer.
In the ad that has a dystopian, nightmarish vibe to it, we see people trying to go about their business while carrying a massive amount of cables with them, grouped together in a "tail" that follows them everywhere. In Mobil 1's words, the commercial "makes visible the invisible threads that keep us all overconnected."
Obviously, this generates ridiculous situations, but the company proposes a solution: breaking free of the multitude of cables that represent the devices we use every day by going out for a drive in a petrol-powered car. This leads up to the slogan that appears at the end of commercial: "Disconnecting. Feels a lot like breaking free. For the love of driving."
Mobil 1 argues that "over half of Americans identify that some of life's most cherished moments happen in the car – from the excitement of getting your driver's license, family road trips, to singing to music as the miles pass by."
However, any of those memorable events can easily take place in an electric car – as far as we know, EVs do not drive around with charging cables attached to them – but ExxonMobil's commercial conveniently avoids saying that because why would it?
Are we witnessing the start of a war between the oil and gas industry and the EV industry? It's not for us to say, but this commercial certainly looks like a declaration of intent – Mobil 1 says its "new brand platform will be an umbrella for everything we do going forward with our products, partners and driving experiences for consumers."