What if you were completely wrong about the electric car?

It only took us a few minutes in the alleys The Lyon show recently and listen to understand the French’s concerns about the electric car. Apart from the budgetary aspect, which is always a problem, two arguments come up again and again.

First: electric cars do not have enough autonomy, especially for driving on the highway, and therefore for traveling several times a year on vacation. And then there’s another fad: “If everyone goes electric, we won’t have enough energy for the country”. A caveat that, for once, is more of a wet-finger guess than a numerical demonstration. It is clear that energy distributors are already working to measure demand in all possible scenarios.

A TCS (Touring Club Suisse) study has just been published in Switzerland which highlights an interesting fact: “the persistent lack of electricity and the increase in costs it generates has only a minimal impact on the desire to buy an electric car, according to the e-barometer. Only 11% of respondents said that they are delaying the purchase of an electric vehicle due to a lack of electricity or high costs“. However, Switzerland regularly finds itself in a situation of energy crisis (especially in winter) when it comes to electricity.. Our neighbors are also heavily dependent on France and its nuclear fleet to meet its needs. If the Swiss, who risk “power failure” much more than us, don’t care much about buying a “battery” car, why should the French, who benefit from one of the best productions in Europe (carbon-free, what’s more) have any concerns? Aren’t they a bit over the top?

RTE, the electricity network manager in France, recalled its scenario studies from late last year:although we are currently experiencing an energy crisis, it is temporary. In addition, the risks of lack of electricity are very occasional in winter and currently do not limit the development of electric cars. In the coming years, we estimate that there will be enough electricity to cover the charging needs associated with the development of electric cars, even during periods of heavy travel such as school holidays or weekend departures. RTE thus estimates that electricity consumption linked to the development of electric vehicles should represent around 10% of total French consumption in 2030 and around 15% in 2050 (reference scenario)“.

What’s the real issue: autonomy or charging stations?

Efficient, numerous and above all reliable terminals! This is what will be needed for electric, more than huge batteries.© Hugo Dupont

So it seems that this is gradually being confirmed in Europe: autonomy is no longer the number one concern to buy electricity The TCS study confirms this, as the presence of charging stations now exceeds autonomy in the selection criteria. A dense and, above all, reliable network of charging points is preferable to a huge battery that allows you to travel hundreds of kilometers. But we are not there yet the network progresses day after day. The 100,000 terminal mark was recently crossed in France, although it should be remembered that only 8% are fast terminals. Little, too little, especially as batteries become more and more capable of receiving high charging powers on a regular basis.

On the other hand, those French people who do not have access to a socket at home will remain, and solving this problem will be a completely different story. Not everyone will have access to a socket at home or at their workplace, and few Europeans will be willing to make a detour to the local supermarket and waste 30 minutes in the morning or evening just to collect a few precious kilowatt hours.

So there is no need to have gigantic batteries weighing hundreds of kilograms, which take even longer to fill. A good network of fast terminals will be much more useful. However, there is a counter-argument: the smaller the battery, the more repeated charging cycles. And that’s why her condition gets worse over time. Here too we have to face the desire of the industry to recycle batteries at the end of their life and return these precious metals back into the circuit for new batteries. But a very interesting study from our colleagues at Les Echos they reveal that repairing and collecting batteries will be very difficult for many electric models, especially Asians and Teslas. On paper, recycling or repairing cells is a great project, but the choice of some manufacturers to complicate battery design could put the circular economy in trouble at the other end of the chain.

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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