“It may not be the only solution,” explains one researcher after the vote in the European Parliament

The European Parliament announced on Wednesday, June 8, the end of the sale of new thermal vehicles from 2035. The measure, which is part of the “climate package” in Brussels, must be able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, responsible for climate change, the transport sector . “It is a good signal sent to players in the sector. Electrification is crucial for the energy conversion of the lightest vehicles”, responds Aurélien Bigo, researcher in the energy conversion of transport at the Energy and Prosperity Chair. However, this is far from sufficient to achieve the CO2 neutrality targets. “It can not be seen as the only solution for passenger mobility”, he adds. He explains why to france info.

Franceinfo: Is this measure voted by the MEPs good news in favor of a transition to less carbon-intensive transport?

Aurelien Bigo: Yes, it is a good signal sent to players in the sector. Electrification is crucial for the energy conversion of the lightest vehicles. In France, an electric vehicle emits on average three times less than a thermal vehicle when its entire life cycle is taken into account. We needed rules to speed up the process. And this date 2035 promotes the goals previously set at national level for a number of European countries, including France, which had set itself a deadline of 2040. USIt’s going in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We need an even earlier end date and we need to combine electrification with other solutions. It can not be seen as the only solution for passenger mobility.

What are the limitations of this measure?

The national low-emission strategy [ou SNBC, feuille de route de la France pour respecter l’accord de Paris limitant le réchauffement climatique à 2 °C, voire 1,5 °C] has set a goal of dividing France’s territorial emissions by six. The comparison is not perfect, but if we transfer it to the transport sector, the progress must be greater than the only threefold division that a transition to electricity allows.

Moreover, this single solution ignores a number of issues. Soil artificialization e.g. Electric vehicles also require infrastructure and use space, threatening biodiversity. This also does not allow a rebalancing of public space in favor of other forms of mobility and in favor of greener cities, which are necessary to adapt especially to heat waves and heavy rainfall. We can also mention visual pollution, physical inactivity, accidents, etc. These problems are not solved by simply switching from thermal to electrical. And it’s going to add others, too.

Which one ?

The use of metal resources for the manufacture of batteries. We know that there will be tensions on, for example, cobalt, nickel and lithium due to the strong growth in demand. There is also a risk of a rebound effect. In the transport sector, it has been observed that the improvement in engine efficiency has led users to travel longer distances and use their car more easily, not to reduce consumption. With the electric car, which has a lower cost of moving, it can also facilitate travel and therefore multiply it.

Which handles must therefore be activated, in addition to the cessation of the sale of thermobiles?

One of the main challenges now is to prevent this electrification from affecting heavy vehicles. It would deprive the transition of a wide range of services. Avoiding it requires many measures related to sobriety, which are largely lacking in the decisions made so far. There are several levers: to moderate the demand for transport and therefore reduce the kilometers driven, promote active mobility such as walking and cycling, reduce the proportion of the car compared to public transport, better fill vehicles with carpooling and finally move towards easier, slower and more aerodynamic vehicles, in contrast to the current trend in favor of SUVs. Overall, we need to question the place of the car in our mobility.

Leave a Comment