Energy crisis, fuel prices… the electric car, really a miracle solution?

Between rising electricity prices and fuel shortages, motorists can find it difficult to make their car choice. If electric is on the way, is it really a good idea to invest in this type of vehicle right now? RMC study signed Léna Marjak and Anthony Morel.

They will be the stars of the Mondial de l’Auto, which opens in Paris this week. Electric cars are on the way. All the more so with the tensions at gas stations, rising fuel prices. But there, too, the energy crisis is present, and electricity is increasing. But low-emission zones will ban thermoelectric cars within a few years.

Is it a good idea to invest in an electric car today? At a public terminal, it costs 3.90 euros from 8pm and eight to nine euros during the day, explains Julien, owner of an electric Fiat 500. These terminals are managed by private companies, which set their price. At Tesla, prices fluctuate according to the price of electricity. Recently, the price for the brand’s cars was 67 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared to 79 cents for any other car connected to their terminal.

“It costs more to travel 100 km in an electric Zoe on the highway (15 euros) than to do it with a Clio diesel (10 euros to two euros per liter of gasoline). The difference in prices is erased by the explosion of electricity prices” , explains François Xavier Piétri, economic journalist and author of a book on electric cars.

RTE, the electricity transmission chief recalled in a report published in September. That the risk of cutbacks “cannot be completely ruled out” and that access to terminals, for example in parking lots, can be limited to emergency use “during peak hours. An idea that must gain ground according to the energy specialists:

“It is important that the charging of an electric car, which consumes a lot, does not take place during rush hour at 19:00 on the way home from work, but rather at times when there is less voltage on the grid, especially at night,” explains Aurélien Bigo, a researcher in the transport energy transition.

A deficit on terminals

In the long term, the market explodes. In September, there are more electricity sales than diesel. Apart from the fact that charging stands may be missing. On the highway, the wait time to recharge your vehicle can be long

“The government’s plan was 100,000 terminals by 2021. We are about halfway there. On the motorway we are at 5,000 fast terminals. So we are very far from the target” explains François Xavier Piétri.

That being said, things are in place. For example, Mobilize Power Solutions will install 90 charging stations in Renault dealerships by 2024 for all types of electric vehicles.

“This will allow users to drive to Paris-Seville with a terminal every 150 km with a waiting area to rest, eat, work. Recharging should no longer be seen as a limitation” explains Nicolas Schottey, general manager.

Charging your car can also be done at home. And it’s cheaper. 89% of electric car owners who live in a house do this.

“e-low coast” cars

To help with the switch to electric, there is no shortage of innovations. Buying an electric car is expensive. But in the future, some models will be more “low coast”. This is the case with the project of a Bordeaux manufacturer called Gazelle Tech. They are in the process of getting a fantastic, functional electric car homologated: a kind of electric 2CV.

First, it is ultra-light: Three-quarters of a vehicle’s fuel consumption is linked to its weight. Everything has been optimized here: built from composite materials and with an ultra-simplified Lego-style assembly (the chassis has ten parts against 300 for a classic model, it is assembled in an hour), it weighs 900 kilos against 1.5 tons for a Zoe and 1.8 tons for a Tesla Model 3. The battery is also smaller and the car has less power with a maximum speed of 110 km/h.

Thus, the electricity consumption expressed in kWh/100 km (number of lost battery units every 100 km) is 6, which is extremely low. A small electric city car is better between 13 and 15 and on SUVs around 20. This means that the electricity consumption per 100 km is much cheaper. This car, rather intended for peri-urban, could – if approved – roll in 2024 at a price of 20,000 euros per car, which is low for electric. Especially since it could be assembled at local micro-factories close to the buyer.

Bivalent charging, ultra-fast terminals

Once the car is purchased, electric charging can also come down in price, and two-way charging systems can help. In other words, it is a wall terminal for recharging your car at home, but which works in both directions: you recharge the car, but the car can also supply the house or resell part of the power to the grid. .

The idea is to charge the car at night, in the low season: if you have battery left in the evening during rush hour, when there are peaks in consumption, the car’s power injected into the house will make it possible to save money, or even sell it on. This technology, called V2G (vehicle to grid, “from the vehicle to the network”), allows both to save money and to ensure the stability of the electricity grid, to overcome the intermittent nature of renewable energy.

In addition to lowering the price of the network, the network of terminals will be improved and especially at the level of fast charging, which can recharge 80% of the batteries in a small city car in less than half an hour. An Israeli startup, Storedot, which is working on the subject and an electric battery that would recover 160 km in two minutes of charging. It could be launched in 2024, and concretely we wouldn’t have to stop further than a gas station before we left, which would be revolutionary.

Lena Marjak and Anthony Morel

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