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Anjani Trivedi

A Chinese Billionaire, His Auto Empire and an Electric Car

A new engine venture backed by Geely, Renault and Saudi Aramco may seem at odds with decarbonization. It makes sense as the world attempts to go electric.

Back to the future.

Back to the future.

Photographer: Gilles Sabrie/Bloomberg

Just as electric vehicles gain traction, the world’s largest oil company and big automakers are coming together to create a combustion-engine venture. It’ll be hard to stop them.

Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Aramco, earlier this month signed an agreement to become a potential minority stakeholder in a 50-50 venture between China’s domestic auto champion Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co., Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and French firm Renault SA, focused on gas-guzzling and hybrid powertrains. The car companies joined forces in November to build next-generation and more fuel-efficient engines to supply to a range of vehicle brands, including their shareholders. Prior to that, the firms had announced a collaboration to bring fuel-efficient cars to South Korea.