Electric car: crashed after the rush?

The government is firing on all cylinders to encourage the French to buy electric cars. In January 2023, after a needs test, some of them will be able to get a zero-interest loan to acquire an electric or hybrid car. Credit to be repaid in a maximum of seven years. This is an experiment planned for two years. In addition to this system, there is a tax deduction for the installation of a charging station, ecological bonus, conversion bonus, a special electric car leasing project, etc.

Do not throw anymore! You have to drive fast, very fast. In its new Fit for 55 climate package, the European Commission predicts that sales of internal combustion engine cars will cease in 2035. “Who will travel far, take care of its fitting”? Too late the horse galloped off. But if the goal of reducing CO2 emissions is clear, the way to reach it is filled with big pitfalls.

Danger to public finances

If everyone is driving an electric car, the bill is likely to be salty. 6h design studio, which specializes in mobility analysis, performed the calculation. Assuming a doubling of penalties and a halving of support for electric mobility by 2030, the deficit for public authorities that year would be 9 to 12 billion euros. euros compared to 2021.

This amount is mainly explained by a tax effect. “To understand the impact of electric mobility on tax revenues, a distinction must be made between two effects,” explains Hadrien Bajolle, project manager at 6t. The first is due to the lower taxation of electricity in relation to petrol per. energy unit. He thus calculated that a thermal vehicle today brings in the state from 570 euros / year (in urban areas) to 650 euros / year (in rural areas) for a petrol model, and from 700 to 790 euros / year for a diesel. the difference is related to the fact that the latter on average drive more than petrol cars.

Conversely, the tax rate for an electric vehicle is between 140 and 150 euros / year. “Another effect is linked to the fact that electric cars consume less energy than thermal vehicles. Less energy consumption therefore automatically means less revenue for public authorities,” continues Hadrien Bajolle. In other words, the more ecologically virtuous we are in the current system, because we are drying up the financing of public services, which should make us completely rethink taxation in order to make it less dependent on physical flows. ”Comprehensive program.

social threat

It is a fact that the electric car and its simpler motorization require less manpower than the thermal vehicle. According to a study conducted by the company AlixPartners on behalf of the Automotive Platform (PFA), the French sector would lose 15% to 30% of its workforce in the electrical transition, ie. between 46,000 and 87,000 jobs. “Sectors are particularly vulnerable, especially bar turning, steel foundry and punching. Around 32,000 jobs are threatened among manufacturers and Tier 1 equipment manufacturers,” commented Alexandre Marian, co-author of the study. The entire sector must go through all its production processes.

But this report, commissioned by proposals from the European climate package “Fit for 55” last summer, insists on another risk associated with a too rapid transition to electricity: “accelerating additional resources outside France”. In other words, we risk seeing new relocations to low-cost countries, for example in Eastern Europe or North Africa. “The cost price of the components in an electric car is 60% higher than for a thermal model. This explains more expensive cars, which threaten sales volume, decrypts Alexandre Marian. The faster electrification is required, the more manufacturers will seek to be competitive on price, in order to sell as many vehicles as possible. Hence an incentive to produce under more affordable conditions outside France ”. Which, of course, would be detrimental to employment in France.

On a European scale, half a million jobs are threatened in the production of thermal motors by 2040, (poorly) offset by new jobs – around 225,000 – in electric motorization, which would reduce the net loss to 275,000 jobs, according to a recent document from Clepa, the Association of European Equipment Manufacturers, and the company PwC Strategy &.

Risk of shortage of rare metals

“Either we no longer want electric vehicles, electric scooters, mobile phones … and we accept that. But if we want to enter […] a society where we want to emit fewer greenhouse gases, we have to take on the consequences. And the consequences are that we need materials like lithium “, argues Barbara Pompili, Minister of Ecological Transformation, adding,” that we need to look for some at home “.

“The battery of an electric vehicle is 40% of its value. And a large part of its weight is metals: nickel, manganese, cobalt, lithium for the famous lithium-ion batteries,” specifies Christel Bories, CEO of the Eramet mining group. The supply problem arises in France and in Europe, and by 2050 the EU will need thirty-five times more lithium than today, ie 800,000 tonnes a year, and up to twenty-six times more rare earths (neodymium, dysprosium, praseodymium …).

It will also need twice as much nickel as well as 330% cobalt, 45% silicon, 35% copper and 10 to 15% extra zinc, shows the latest report from Eurométaux (April 2022). We will have to secure a lot of new sources of supply.

If we add to all these challenges the need to produce a lot of electricity to power our cars without penalizing the rest of the economy – which in itself is a huge challenge – the program of the next Prime Minister in charge of ecological planning is like Hercules’ occupation. We wish him success because the clean car is crucial in the race towards CO2 neutrality.

Leave a Comment