Electric cars: hangover after joy?

Yesterday’s Automotive Industry Day in Paris allowed the Minister of Economy to remind at the end of his speech that the French state will not give up on the automotive sector. She is there, in case of trouble, at his bedside and by his side, to give him a little helping hand when needed to speed up the movement. And it’s working, as numerous tax loopholes for electric vehicles in France and Europe allowed it to reach a 20% share of the new vehicle market in September.

2024, a dark year for car sales? A study that does not reassure…

However, this comes at the cost of an impressive amount of help from public authorities and some private companies: purchase bonus, conversion bonus, regional support, reduced toll prices, free or discounted parking… the list goes on. Add to this the price shield on regulated electricity prices for individuals, which has played its part well, while fuel taxation has not changed and remains very high. Penalty for CO2 and weight, heavily taxed fuel, the state itself therefore directs the electricity market and almost demonstrates interventionism in the private sector. A bit like when diesel was taxed much less than petrol to encourage the sale of diesel vehicles, the real French sector.

But if this strategy seems to be bearing fruit so far in France, it is not so on the other side of the Atlantic, where sales are still growing, but at a significantly lower rate than in 2021 and 2022. Logical, you might say, since the electric ones started from zero. But the increase in the stock of electric cars is starting to worry.

Sellers believe this less than customers

The Ford F150 Lightning isn’t the huge success that pre-orders might have led us to believe© Ford

A study by Cox Automotive revealed quite remarkable data: if 53% of American motorists are convinced that electric vehicles will replace combustion engines, only 31% of dealers and salespeople think the same! So there is a gap between experts (certain experts) and the lay public.

Electric cars you don’t want to miss in 2024

The American right does not hesitate to jump on this news to point the finger at electricity. Texas Policy Studies (a very conservative group in this US state, where Tesla’s headquarters are located today) reminds that the cost of assistance for electric cars “are borne by petrol vehicle owners, ratepayers and utility ratepayers, all of whom pay a premium price for someone else’s electric vehicle“. Obviously, when it comes to conservative (often anti-electric) Republicans, we didn’t expect any other conclusion. But the study rates the price of an electric vehicle if it were to be on par with a thermal one: at an average of $50,000. In short, for most Americans unavailable.

Electric stocks on the rise?

So how is it really? Does electric power have the ability to quickly become the majority of new vehicle sales? In Europe, we still have a long way to go. The 50% mark seems complicated to reach without really affordable models arriving in 3 years. In the land of Uncle Sam, the situation would be complicated. According to The Wall Street Journal, stocks of electric vehicles (such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E) are rising. In July, the national supply of thermal vehicles was 52 days, which is relatively stable compared to previous months. In contrast, stocks of electric cars reached 100 days. In 2021, 86% of Americans were considering switching to electricity. In 2023, only 67% will remain. Of course, the American example may not apply to Europe: across the Atlantic, the car market often closely follows the price of fuel. The cheaper they are, the more Americans are inclined to thermals.

But the most telling example remains the Ford F150: the brand announced that it has enough pre-orders to last 3 years of production when it launches in 2021. In September 2023, Ford announced that it will increase production of… the F150 hybrid because the electric model is not selling enough..

Modest French stuck in the face of ‘all electric cars’

The famous glass ceiling that would also hit the VW concern with its electrics, but also Renault with the ultimately timid Mégane E-Tech sales.

The electricity market today therefore focuses on the price range between 40,000 and 60,000 EUR, which does not have a very wide audience. And buyers with this budget very often opt for Tesla, which leaves little room for competition. Taking a step forward and reaching a wider audience that expects an electric car at the price they used to buy their new thermal car in France, around €25,000, will then be a real breakthrough. And that without a bonus or state support…

Compare true autonomy the best electric cars according to our standardized measurement cycle. Battery capacity, consumption, autonomy, we will tell you everything!

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