With a market share of 16% in September, sales of electric cars have, for the first time in France, surpassed those of diesel cars. Should we rejoice? I do not think so.
First of all, this sales boom comes at a time when European industry is not ready to drive it. Not a single one of the promised gigafactories, these giant battery manufacturing factories, have yet emerged from the ground and all European manufacturers still source almost exclusively from Asian batteries so it still weighs between half and a third of the cost of their productions. .
Next, the only affordable new electric car (or close to it: €13,800 to €15,300 bonus deducted) for the average Frenchman, and one of the best sellers, is the Dacia Spring…made in China. A small car made to work-sleep and even to leave the children at school and do the afternoon shopping, but nothing more, and that at the price of a pre-Covid compact thermal. All the others continue at stratospheric prices, taking into account the average salary of €1,940 and even the average salary: €2,424.
The popular electric wagon doesn’t exist yet and I don’t see it coming. In any case, not from France, Germany or Italy, but I’ll get to that…
Wealthy buyers drive little
From the social point of view, the result is disastrous: from what I see, hear and read, it is the wealthy urbanites who, because they have the means, are converting to “wattage”. There is little or no crowd of those who really need it financially: rural and peri-urban people ruined by their high daily mileage, all the more so as they have been massively encouraged to switch from diesel to gasoline. .
They are not resistant to electricity, simply, their prices do not match the maximum €5,000 to €10,000 they spend on buying a car… used.
Too bad because their conversion would not cost much to the community, they have a plug at home to recharge while there will never be enough terminals and never powerful enough in the streets and parking lots for the inhabitants of the city.
In ecological terms, the same picture: you have to drive a lot to offset the high CO2 impact of battery manufacturing. What the vast majority of today’s buyers don’t do: The average annual mileage of a motorist in metropolitan areas is two to three times less than that of a country or suburban dweller.
Those who doubt it can look in the classifieds for the ridiculously low annual mileage of the vast majority of second-hand electric cars.
Every month, a Chinese news
Too fast too, because in the absence of an affordable offer and forcing the buyer’s hand with ZFE and subsidizing the purchase up to €11,000 (Bono + conversion premium) the red carpet is laid out for the Chinese industry.
Consequently, not a month goes by without the arrival in Europe of a new model or a new car brand from China, all with prices much lower than continental brands. An MG4 costs €8,000 less than a directly comparable electric Mégane. In addition, the sales in Europe of this old British brand are no longer anecdotal.
Nothing surprising. Faced with a consumer who looks at his bank account before his passport, frenetic prices and a shortage that places delivery times between six months and a year, any manufacturer, even unknown and without a network of distributors, enters the old continent like butter .
No more tin cars from the 2000s
And when I write “any manufacturer” I don’t see anything derogatory: Chinese manufacturers have, in 10 years, jumped half a century.
All you have to do is hop aboard an Aiways or MG to see – and feel – that the build quality is now up to our standards. Even the design now rivals that of the Europeans.
When it comes to safety, forget the hilarious crash tests of the 2000’s tin Chinese: they now boast 5 stars on EuroNcap and offer the full range of driving aids.
Add to this that their experience in electrification is superior to that of the Europeans and that their batteries are sometimes technically ahead and the reality is stark: our car industry had only a small advantage in one area: engine thermals in general and that of diesel in particular. . The stigmatized diesel that now sells less than the electric one.
I absolutely do not see how the European auto industry could resist this increase because Germany, for whom China is a vital outlet for its industry, will never accept quotas or increases in customs tariffs for fear of retaliation.
As for customs, in August they announced that the French trade deficit reached, in one year, 139 billion euros, against 85 billion a year earlier. For those who do not visualize, I put the zeros: €139,000,000,000.