Categories: Environment

To decarbonize the automotive industry, electrification will not be enough

The massive arrival of electric cars on the roads will not be enough to achieve the decarbonization objectives, the PFA recommends in particular an “evolution of uses”.

As you have seen in recent years, the automotive industry is massively turning to all-electric, but is this enough to achieve a carbon-free automotive industry? According to La Plateforme automobile (PFA), representing manufacturers and equipment manufacturers, the answer is no, in any case if there is not at the same time a change in uses, in particular a reduction in the use of private cars.

The PFA recalls that the 37 million private vehicles and six million light commercial vehicles in circulation are responsible for 21% of total CO emissions.2 In France.

Continue with aids?

According to the PFA’s decarbonisation roadmap submitted to the government, sales of electric cars are expected to increase sharply by the time new internal combustion cars are banned in the European Union in 2035. Electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles are expected to represent respectively 50% and 20% of light vehicle sales by 2030, and 14% and 7% of the vehicle fleet. This would cause a reduction of around 23% in CO emissions2 on this horizon.

However, the PFA points out that this trajectory will depend on several factors. Companies, which buy half of new vehicles, must play the game of electrification. The government must continue to support the acquisition of these vehicles, in particular by low-income households, and there must be enough charging stations available. Today, according to the latest rumours, we are moving more towards a hardening of aid for 2024.

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Reduce the use of solo driving

Despite this progress, the 23% of gains planned will remain far from the 40% necessary according to the national low-carbon strategy. The PFA therefore proposes to act on other levers, in particular by reducing the kilometers traveled through car sharing, carpooling and by promoting soft and collective mobility such as cycling and public transport.

The short-term obstacle is also that “Electric vehicles emit on average twice as much CO2 during their manufacture compared to thermal vehicles », recognizes the PFA. It therefore recommends a relocation of production, in particular of batteries.

Heavy goods vehicles also concerned

As for heavy vehicles such as trucks and coaches, their electrification mainly concerns those of low tonnage for short-distance operations. However, electric buses have seen a major breakthrough, accounting for 37% of new registrations in 2022.

Trucks running on natural gas vehicle (NGV), possibly made from biomethane, are already widespread and suitable for many immediate uses. On the other hand, hydrogen, promising for long-distance transport, still suffers from very high prices for vehicles.

The report suggests public financial support to switch from diesel vehicles to alternatives such as CNG and hydrogen, valued at €200-300 million per year with a gradual increase over the next five years.

The Minister Delegate for Transport, Clément Beaune, promised that “the State would support the electric car and carbon-free heavy vehicle sectors”pointing out that “transport accounts for 30% of emissions, but is also the leading solution sector for the transition to more environmentally friendly mobility. »

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