If the electric car will prevail for light vehicles by 2040, the solutions remain more open for heavy vehicles (buses and trucks), according to a report published last Thursday by the French Institute of Petroleum and New Energies (Ifpen). Despite a higher cost to purchase, electric cars are already competitive in terms of cost to use, “provided that the battery has a capacity of less than 60 kWh”, underlines Ifpen in this report written in collaboration with the Environment and Energy Management Agency. “The payback period will be even shorter in the future, as technical improvements and the cost and impact of battery manufacturing decrease,” the authors state.
In addition, the use of batteries of limited capacity will require the use of more energy-efficient vehicles to maintain sufficient autonomy, “in particular a reduction in aerodynamic losses and in the mass of the vehicles”, a development against the current of the market which favors SUVs. Plug-in hybrid cars, for their part, offer “a real environmental and energy advantage for light vehicles”, provided that they are recharged very regularly. In addition, in 2040, with the progress still expected on the energy density and the mass of the batteries, for an equivalent type of vehicle, “the consumption of electric vehicles should decrease by around 30% compared to 2020”, predicts Ifpen .
But going electric may not be enough to achieve the objectives of the European Green Deal (-90% CO2 emissions from the fleet in 2050 compared to 1990), warns Ifpen. “We will also have to change our behavior in terms of mobility and car purchases. A downward trend in demand for new vehicles, without a break in the choice of travel modes and without optimizing the use of vehicles, will have little impact on the decarbonization of the automotive sector,” according to the institute. Hydrogen, via fuel cell technology, will however remain “uncompetitive for light vehicles” by 2040, “due to high acquisition and operational costs”, finally emphasizes Ifpen.
On the other hand, Italy, supported by four other countries, proposes to postpone until 2040 the end of the sale of thermal engine cars in the EU, against 2035 in the Brussels proposal currently discussed by the Member States, according to a document consulted by journalists. As part of its ambitious climate plan, the European Commission proposed in July 2021 to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars in the EU to zero from 2035, which would de facto stop sales of petrol vehicles. and diesel in favor of 100% electric engines. The European Parliament endorsed this 2035 objective at the beginning of June, and the Member States must now try, during a meeting of European Ministers of the Environment tomorrow Tuesday in Luxembourg, to agree on their common position.
However, a proposal from Italy, signed by Bulgaria, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia, pleads for a five-year postponement of the calendar in order to avoid “disproportionate and unnecessary costs for the automotive sector and for consumers ” . This text proposes to impose a 90% reduction in emissions for sales of new individual cars in 2035, before reaching zero emissions in 2040. “To achieve zero-emission mobility, obstacles will have to be overcome: increasing charging infrastructure, developing battery production, improving current technologies in a cost-effective way, introducing incentives for consumers,” Rome argues in this document. It will also take time for the industrial ecosystem, a dense fabric of subcontractors and SMEs, to adapt to new components and technologies. The automotive sector is an important industry for Italy as for the other signatories.
Germany, where the automobile also represents a significant economic weight, defends relaxations to extend the sale of cars with combustion engines running on e-fuels (made from carbon-free electricity).
If the electric car will prevail for light vehicles by 2040, the solutions remain more open for heavy vehicles (buses and trucks), according to a report published last Thursday by the French Institute of Petroleum and New Energies (Ifpen). Despite a higher cost to purchase, electric cars are already competitive in terms of cost…