(p. B1) NOVI, Mich.—The world’s largest oil company has 30 engineers working away in this Detroit suburb on a project that sounds counterintuitive: an engine that burns less oil.
But there is a common-sense explanation for why the Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, wants a more efficient internal combustion engine. It is trying to protect its market share by slowing a potential exodus to electric vehicles.
David Cleary, head of Saudi Aramco’s Detroit Research Center, said the company’s goal with its research is to preserve the market for fuel. To that end, he said, any breakthroughs in better-engine designs would be widely shared.
“We are trying to get technology into production, and we want to be very fast,” Mr. Cleary said.
While electric-vehicle adoption remains small globally, and is expected to rise gradually, the prospect of a large-scale shift is setting up a showdown between oil companies and utilities over who will power tomorrow’s cars.
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(Note: the online version of the story has the date July 15, 2018, and has the title “Oil, Utilities Fight to Fuel Vehicles of the Future.”)