The electric car overtook the diesel car for the first time in September

The European Parliament voted on June 8 to end the sale of new thermoelectric cars in 2035, a major step towards achieving CO2 neutrality by 2050. Today, the French car fleet is entering a phase of massive electrification. Overview of the pros and cons of this revolution in progress.

Are electric cars more expensive?

The Renault Mégane is shown at 35,200 euros in the electric version against 28,000 for the thermal version, and the difference is around 10,000 euros for the Peugeot 208. But when you subtract the discounts, the difference is reduced. First with the state organic bonus – 6,000 euros in 2022 – which is not only extended in 2023, but rises to 7,000 euros for the most modest households. Then via the manufacturer’s discounts up to 4% of the selling price. Finally, with the possible bonus for conversion of an old petrol or diesel vehicle (2,500 euros).

In addition, the insurance premium for the electric car, depending on the insurance companies, can be 5% to 50% cheaper. And clean vehicles have a gray card exemption of 50% to 100% depending on the region.

Is it more economical?

The real savings start from the first kilometer with electricity if you recharge from home, three times cheaper than fuel: € 10 for 300 km against € 30 for a thermal on average, according to the latest figures from the Ecological Transition Agency (Ademe) ). The installation of a charging station at home – faster than the standard plug – ranges from 1,200 to 2,000 €, but receives a tax deduction of 300 €.

The maintenance of the car plays in favor of the electric: no oil changes, no gearbox to maintain and a battery with a guarantee for eight years. In addition, driving an electric vehicle means taking advantage of the powerful engine braking, especially in roundabouts, with the dual benefit of regenerating the battery, especially on downhill stretches, and slowing the wear and tear on parts, including the platelets.

With 14,108 registrations, the Peugeot 208 is the best-selling electric car in France between January and September 2022. It is ahead of Dacia Spring (13,022), Fiat 500 (12,454), Renault Twingo (10,702) and Renault Zoe (10,632). In the month of September alone, the Renault Megane E-Tech appears at the top of the ranking followed by the Tesla Model 3 and Dacia Spring.

Are electric cars really greener?

The electric car departs with a clear ecological handicap. Its manufacture is expensive, actually in CO2 emissions: more than 10 tons against less than 5 tons for thermal. The carbon debt is therefore twice as high before driving. But the more it runs, the more it catches up with an environmental load that is two to three times lower than that of the heat engine.

For a small city car (22kWh), the debt is paid back after 15,000 km, whereas it is only after 100,000 km for a high-end electric SUV. Ademe therefore recommends choosing “a battery of reasonable size, less than 60 kWh, which ensures climatic and economic relevance”.
In this perspective of combining economy and ecology, we also measure all the interest in the second-hand market, called to develop. Because the longer the electric car lasts, the more virtues it gets.

Electric cars accounted for 140,848 sales between January and September 2022, or 13% market share. Photo Jeremiah Fulleringer
What autonomy does it have?

The ideal use of an electric car is for daily trips of 25 to 40 km from home to work. In this way, it is particularly suitable for suburban France, which has no other choice but the car.

The limit of autonomy is to date the weak point of the electric vehicle according to 93% of the French surveyed by Cetelem Observatory, specialist in consumer credit. They rightly rate it between 100 and 300 km. “With the exception of Tesla models, which boast a range of 500 km, the majority of electric cars on the European market fall within this range. »

“What’s more, drivers are well aware of the gap between display and reality”, states the same study. A difference due to the driving style, the use of air conditioning, heating, radio and especially the climate – battery life is drastically reduced by periods of extreme cold.

In theory, battery life shouldn’t be a deterrent, as 86% of people surveyed travel less than 100km per day. “The barrier is therefore more psychological than functional,” says Cetelem.

The charging system, a brake?

According to a survey conducted by Ipsos, while 96% of electric car owners are satisfied with their purchase, 68% of respondents are “dissatisfied with street charging stations”. According to INSEE, a household moves on average three times a year to more than 200 km from its home. But that’s enough to deter more than one.

Although by 2023 all motorway filling stations should be equipped with fast charging stations (80% of the battery in 30 minutes), €40 for 300 km is very expensive for the motorist, higher than the fuel price. And very energy-intensive for the electrical network.

“High power must not become the norm”, warns Ademe, who recommends “a territorial, urban and rural network with reasonable powers”. And the prices too…

Electric car: You are never more than 30 kilometers from a terminal in Corrèze

An increase of 32% in one year

In France, diesel just passed electric in September: 20,200 registrations against 22,500, an increase of 32% in one year. This moment was expected this summer, so it came a little later than expected. But petrol is still the leader with a market share of 38%.

Electric cars accounted for 140,848 sales between January and September 2022, or 13% market share, according to figures from the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility. A figure to be compared with the 76,937 plug-in hybrid models sold in France during the first nine months of the year. Electric and plug-in hybrids combined, the goal of one million vehicles in circulation will be reached very soon – there were 786,000 by the end of 2021.

In the meantime, the used market is slowly starting to structure itself with 4,000 electric cars sold, twice as many as last year at the same time.

Nathalie Van Praagh

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