Ecoplanet | These alps bought an electric car: “We could not live without it”

Mobile phone, household appliances, heating … Electricity occupies a central place in our daily lives. And if the car, equipped with an internal combustion engine, was somehow an exception, it may not be the case for a long time. Because the development of electric cars has been spectacular in recent years. In France, 162,106 electric cars were sold in 2021, compared to only 2,662 in 2011, according to the specialized website Automotive-Clean. If the last year “only” accounts for 10% of the total number of cars registered throughout the country, this market share will increase very sharply in the coming years.

In addition, electric sirens have already seduced people from the lower Alps, motivated by various reasons: absence of noise and greenhouse gas emissions, decrease in operating costs, driving comfort, etc .. “We wanted to innovate and diversify to complete our diesel“, Explains Christian Boniteau, a resident of Bayon’s north of Sisteron.

“Except the tires, 0 € maintenance in 4 years and 50,000 km”

The 250km autonomy of their Nissan Leaf, bought new for 32,000 euros (excluding the state bonus of 6,000 euros) four years ago, allows them to take the weekly round trip to Sisteron or to jump. “If we go to Aix-en-Provence, we will miss about thirty kilometers to the return. We therefore have to charge at a semi-fast terminal in Sisteron, but it is expensiveCount around 10 euros for a partial recharge, which only allows them to participate in Bayons.

At the Mas des Quintrands hotel in Manosque, an electric Peugeot Partner showed up five years ago. “We have very special working conditionsexplains Hervé Graff, the owner with Aurore. We needed a cart to clean the rooms, but we have no shelter. So we thought about using the thermobile. But we quickly realized that it hurts to stop every 5 meters“.

The choice of electricity therefore seemed obvious. Especially since electric charging costs almost nothing and terminals are now located everywhere. “In the beginning, there were free express terminals in the parking lots of certain supermarkets. In 20 or 25 minutes we reach 80% charge because we have a small battery with a range of 100 km. Today it costs us about 4 euros per. 100 kilometers“, against a dozen euros for a thermal partner.

The cost of use, much lower in terms of fuel, is also dramatically lower for maintenance. No more oil changes and other expensive repairs. While a car with an internal combustion engine has an average of 250 parts, an electric car has less than 50. Thanks to this important factor, Christian Boniteau’s and Hervé Graff’s family simply had no cost to bear. “We have changedonce the tires of four years and 50,000 kilometers“, notes Christian Boniteau.”We spent zero euros for four years and 28,000 kilometers“, Confirms Hervé Graff.

Savings are also what governed Rémi Sciallano’s choice when he bought a Skoda Enyaq last January. The 34-year-old entrepreneur is nonetheless a very big helper as he lives in Vachères and sets off every day to support his internet agency in Aubagne. This therefore represents a minimum of 240 kilometers per day for an average autonomy for his vehicle of 400 km. “There’s a public terminal just behind my company’s headquarters. I bought a card for 12 euros, which gives me access to a fee of 5 euro cents per. minute. I’m very predictable. As soon as I get to a place, I charge. The same thing, when I get home, I immediately connect to my terminal, it’s the cheapest. Thanks to my application on the mobile phone, I always make sure to have an 80% battery, and I start the heating remotely before getting into the vehicle. It’s another wayyou drive, you expect much more. These are habits to take“.

In the end, the monthly savings compared to its previous thermal vehicle are hardly credible: “500 euros“, only on fuel. A gain necessarily reduced by the purchase price of the vehicle (45,000 euros excluding a bonus of 6,000 euros from the state), slightly more expensive than a thermal car, but which would largely remain profitable.”I absolutely do not regret“, curses the young father. It is also very difficult to find a user who regrets his choice of electricity.

With the three families interviewed, this technology is unanimous. And besides the economic aspect, driving comfort is an argument that comes up consistently. “It is more flexible and comfortable“thinks Rémi Scialano.”Once one has tasted electric, it is hard to live without. We drive completely differently, less aggressively“, recognizes Hervé Graff.”It’s day and night with the thermals. It’s unique, easy, smart driving. And when you press the pedal, you get an instant response“, explains Christian Boniteau for his part. Hard to be more convincing …

Maxime Fontanier, specialist independent journalist: “Today, the electric vehicle is the most efficient”

The enthusiast and specialist are convinced of electrical technology.
The enthusiast and specialist are convinced of electrical technology.Photo @ dan.latif

When we think of buying an electric vehicle, we go almost mechanically through the box Youtube to see test runs of different models. It is then impossible to miss the tests that Maxime Fontanier has performed. The freelance journalist for twenty years, who especially collaborates for the trade magazine Auto Moto and the website Clean car knows the technology at your fingertips and explains it to the largest number in videos that systematically count hundreds of thousands of views. “I try almost all new electric carshe announces. People need a lot of information“.

Thanks to this passion “for everything that rolls“, the father, who lives in the Paris region, has a great deal of knowledge and perspective on the development of this new type of vehicle, which landed on the market with Renault Zoé almost ten years ago, but which takes a special scale. several years. “An electric car is closer to a mobile phone than a traditional carhe states. It must be understood as such in its use and its architecture. There are far fewer parts than on a thermal car“. Other benefits: no more gear grips, oil changes and of course going to the gas pump. But you still need to find a terminal to recharge your vehicle. And at this point the specialist assures him:”The network is quite large“. The cost of use is also much cheaper. Count around 2.50 euros to cover 100 kilometers with a Peugeot e-208, against ten euros for its thermal sister.”My job is to say what is good or badremembers Maxime Fontanier. And there are many more positive things about electric compared to thermal, and yet I love thermal. Today, the electric vehicle is more efficient, easier to use, healthier for the planet, provides better comfort and does not make noise. You may be wondering why we did not do this before“.

There is still a big black spot that cools the zeal of a lot of French people who want to take the plunge: the price. Despite the bonus currently given by the state for the acquisition of new vehicles of less than 45,000 euros up to 6,000 euros, the investment to be made is often too large. “Although I’m overcome by technology, I do not drive electrically, apologizes to the specialist journalist. The price is absolutely crazy“. Telsa Model 3, the cheapest of the American brand, is exhibited for no less than 50,000 euros … For French women, the entry-level Peugeot e-208 has been exchanged for about 30,000 euros. The flaw in particular with production costs, mainly related to the huge batteries. However, the electric car could become affordable for all income levels in a short time. “Prices will necessarily bdown through economies of scale in less than five yearsreassures Nicolas Fontanier. And the arrival in the market of Chinese vehicles will also contribute to this.“.

At lower Alpine retailers: “30% of our sales are electric”

Faced with the American giant Telsa, most manufacturers of traditional vehicles are trying to position themselves in the electric market. For the Peugeot dealer in Manosque, the shift went quickly. At present, 30% of the cars sold by the brand in the city of Giono are electric or hybrid. “With rising fuel prices, everyone has come to us and says they need an electric car“, explains Dimitri Jourdain, the director. During the open days in March, 15 new cars were sold, of which 11 with electric or hybrid motors.”In Manosque, we have had a sharp increase in demand since January“, adds the leader, offering the e-208 and its 360 km autonomy from 30,000 euros. A price from which 6,000 euros in state aid must be removed, among the lowest on the market for an electric vehicle of this range.”And with 137 horsepower, it’s almost a GTI“, Assures Dimitri Jourdain.

Mercedes, the German high-end brand, is perhaps a little more behind than its French competitor in the electricity market. “It is not the bulk of our market, but we can feel that there has been demand for it a short month and sky-high fuel prices. There are many environmentally sensitive people“, notes Vincent Guillois, director of the Mercedes network of Gap, Sisteron and Manosque. The German brand still offers more models, including QA around 45 to 50,000 euros.”We are a little more expensive than our competitors, while maintaining our usual high-end“, Continues Vincent Guillois.

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