should we go there at all costs?

NEWS – Does the energy crisis we are going through call into question the transition from individual mobility to all-electric? Here are some things to think about.

The auto industry didn’t need that. Clouds are gathering on the road to the individual car, especially the battery-electric model. The question is no longer taboo: should we definitively commit the automobile to all-electric in 2035 as the European Commission has decided? The end of recklessness would require, rather than multiplying the incantations, to open the debate. Without waiting. A little political courage wouldn’t hurt. The subject is too serious to skip it.

All over the world, blockages are increasing. In California, due to an episode of heat wave, it was asked to avoid recharging its electric vehicle between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. In Great Britain, from October 1st, the price of electricity will increase. Recharging some electric vehicles may cost more than refueling. We are talking about one euro per kilowatt hour. In Europe, the invasion of Ukraine by Russia caused a surge in the price of electricity, correlated with that of gas. In the space of a year, the megawatt hour has gone from 85 euros to nearly 1,000 euros. In France, the price shield cushions the shock, but the price freeze will not last forever. Already, the Minister of the Economy has announced that increases in bills would be expected. Still in France, if we knew for a long time that we had no oil, we now know that we let bad decisions spread. Result: we discover that electricity can become expensive and that we can also run out of it. The current crisis is seen as the detonator of another deeper crisis relating to the abandonment of our energy autonomy.

Synthetic fuels

According to the Fédération environnement durable association, with the closure of the Fessenheim nuclear power plant and the shutdown of 32 of the 58 reactors in the sector, France only produces 22,000 megawatts, instead of 55,000 when the entire park was in operation. Still according to the association, this energy shortage leads EDF to import up to 10,000 megawatts continuously, which represents a quarter of France’s electricity needs. An energy that comes largely from German coal-fired power stations. Even if the government assures that all French installations will be operational again by the end of the year, some no longer hesitate to brandish the threat of electricity rationing in the event of a harsh winter. What credit should be given to this new announcement?

In Chile, facilities co-financed by Porsche to develop synthetic fuel. Porsche

The automobile finds itself hostage to these new equations, with several unknowns. It is no longer excluded that the electric car will have to face, in the coming months, energy rationing and a rise in the price of the kilowatt hour. Even without the current context, we know that the price of energy is likely to increase, mainly to compensate for the drop in tax revenues linked to a reduction in oil consumption. Can society afford the luxury of seeing its mobility once again tarnished? In this context, it would not be absurd to postpone the transition to all-electric planned for 2035 and to favor technological neutrality. The sobriety advocated so often in recent times requires a reduction in production. However, the ecological transition will have a significant impact on the preservation of natural resources and the environment. As such, the sanctions put in place against Russia risk increasing the cost of electric technology. The nickel used to produce the batteries comes largely from Russia.

Recent developments also tend to show the full relevance of the combustion engine. A study by IFP Énergies Nouvelles shows that a plug-in hybrid model running on Superethanol E85 does not emit more CO2 than an electric vehicle over its entire life cycle. The gasoline-electric car is even taking over the battery electric vehicle in countries where the energy mix has a high carbon footprint. Synthetic fuels also deserve full attention. The cost price of this oil-free fuel, produced from renewable energy, is still high but, with aeronautics which will become its main market in a few years, prices should drop to an acceptable level. The advantage of eFuel is to be able to propel, without modifications, the existing fleet. The benefits are therefore immediately quantifiable. CO emissions2 of fossil origin would thus be reduced by almost 90%.

Hydrogen becomes credible

BMW X5 Hydrogen. BMW

At the same time, voices are being raised to defend the hydrogen electric car. A way of not putting all the eggs in one basket while the scarcity of raw materials, the lack of charging infrastructure and the price of electricity are fueling concerns. Patrick Koller, the boss of the equipment manufacturer Forbid, resulting from the merger between Faurecia and Hella, believes that hydrogen represents a solution for the future to massively decarbonize mobility. This technology solves the problems related to the use and economic model of electricity. Patrick Koller estimates that he will be able to offer a hydrogen powertrain for a 100 kilowatt-hour car at around 8,000 euros in 2030. Symbio, his joint venture founded with Michelin, would be about to design a very competitive platform. The future looks exciting.