Bernard Jullien: The electric car is a lever for moving

Economist specializing in the automotive industry, Bernard Jullien will participate in a roundtable discussion at the Electric Road Forum, held from June 29 to July 1. The theme: Make the electrification of mobility an opportunity for employees and car areas. He explains to us why the ban on internal combustion engines is not necessarily the catastrophe foreseen for the European car industry.

Challenges – Following the announcement of the ban on the sale of thermal cars in 2035, we heard Luc Chatel, President of the Automotive Platform (PFA), make alarming remarks about employment in the European car industry. Do you share his concern?

Bernard Julien – It is true that the working content of an electric car is significantly lower than its petrol or diesel equivalent. France has already lost a lot on the assembly of cars, but not on the manufacture of powertrains. With the switch to electricity, there is therefore a lot to lose. FNA (National Automobile Federation, editor’s note) and CFDT insist on the significant impact of dedicated sales, which can result in the loss of 70,000 jobs. Above all, some highly specialized companies will be difficult to rebuild. PFA estimates that at the same volume (two million cars produced in France), the loss would be 50,000 jobs out of 200,000.

But there are two ways to modulate the problem. Continuing to lose volume is an assumption. So we scratch at the wages, the move continues. French industry risks becoming marginal, as is the case in Italy. Luc Chatel does not see how to prevent this temptation to move. France benefited from an external surplus in the niche of electric cars, as only Zoé existed. Now it is in deficit: the Twingo and Stellantis electricity has been imported. However, the situation is not unchangeable: this will change with Renault, thanks to the Mégane and R5 produced in France. On the other hand, Stellantis does not play the game: Apart from probable C5 or 3008 electric, we can not see how there could be a move.

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