Electric car: does the government really want to achieve its objectives?

The government’s desire to promote electric cars raises questions about whether its objectives will be achieved. What measures have been put in place and what are the future prospects?

Ambitious goal, uncertain reality

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For several years, the French government has set ambitious objectives for electric vehicles. The latest, set at 2 million “made in France” electric vehicles by 2030, seemed to reflect a strong desire for a transition towards cleaner mobility. However, a recent correction seems to indicate a change of course.

In fact, the government preferred to talk about electrified vehicles rather than electric cars. This nuance has big implications, as it includes not only battery cars but also hybrid vehicles, whether plug-in or not. By opting for this broader terminology, the government’s ambitions seem more realistic but also less restrictive for automobile manufacturers based in France.

This decision leaves room for hybrid cars, such as those manufactured by Toyota, as well as multi-energy platforms from Stellantis. The latter is the parent company of brands such as Peugeot, Citroën and DS. It is therefore difficult to ask these manufacturers to give up thermal engines, when hybrid cars have a much larger market share than electric cars in France.

A confusing language correction

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The transition from the term « electric vehicles » to « electrified vehicles » raises questions about government communication. Indeed, this correction seems to have gone unnoticed, but it calls into question the recent declarations of President Emmanuel Macron and the Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.

In October 2021, Emmanuel Macron announced a target of “2 million electric and hybrid vehicles” by 2030. This declaration was confirmed by Bruno Le Maire and relayed by numerous media. However, a year later, the President of the Republic changed his expression by speaking of « 2 million electric vehicles », which suggests that the correction of language is rather a mix-up at the top of the State.

If the government is now talking about electrified vehicles, a government source assures that the objective remains to reach 2 million electric vehicles. However, the confusion persists and does not make it easy to understand the government’s real intentions regarding the transition to electric mobility.

A colossal challenge, both industrially and technologically

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Whether it is to produce 2 million electric or electrified vehicles by 2030, the goal remains difficult to achieve. The current production figures for electric cars in France do not exceed 150,000 units in 2023. According to forecasts from the Inovev firm, this figure should reach around 827,000 units in 2030. Even if this development is encouraging, it remains far from the objective set by the government.

In addition, it is important to emphasize that competition from Chinese groups on the European market is increasingly intense. French manufacturers are also choosing to produce some of their electric cars outside of France, as evidenced by Citroën’s decision to produce its ë-C3 in Slovakia.

The industrial and technological challenges are therefore numerous. It will be necessary to increase the production of electric and hybrid cars by 33% in just seven years, without taking into account the challenges linked to competitiveness on the global market.

An uncertain future, but encouraging signs

Faced with these challenges, it is legitimate to wonder whether the government will really be able to achieve its objectives in terms of electric vehicles. The current context of stagnant demand for electric cars in Europe reinforces this uncertainty.

However, it is important to note that concrete measures are being put in place to promote the transition to electric mobility. Battery factories, called “gigafactories”, are under construction in Hauts-de-France. In addition, the French government is working to overhaul the ecological bonus in order to promote made in Europe.

Despite the obstacles encountered, the desire to accelerate the transition to electric vehicles is very present. It remains to be seen whether the measures taken will be sufficient to achieve the objectives set by the French government, and whether car manufacturers will be able to keep up with the pace imposed by this transition.

Source: www.capital.fr

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