Between the communication of the builders, with fatally questionable objectivity, the speech of certain elected officials, who are often poorly informed, and the government’s injunctions, not always in contact with reality, Choosing the right new car in 2022 is a challenge. The automobile is changing. The declared war on diesel, so idolized yesterday, and the almost fanaticism of some in relation to the electric car today testify to this in part. Despite being in daily contact with all types of engines, nor do we have the truth; simply because when it comes to mobility, there is more than just one.
According to four main driver profiles, here we risk specifying the most relevant technology. However, let us bear in mind that if this future purchase is mainly guided by a possible ecological conscience and a desire to minimize its environmental footprint, it is not uncommon for the best choice by far not to change cars.
Urban driver whose out-of-town excursions are rare, you don’t have the possibility to easily plug the car into an electrical outlet.
The right choice: the hybrid (or HEV for Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
Members of this large family are sometimes distinguished from each other by some technical nuances. Most derive their motive power from a thermal engine, in this case a gasoline engine, which an electric machine assists to limit its consumption. Like the iconic Toyota Prius. Others, on the other hand, move around relying more on the electricity fairy, the block with candles acting most often as a generator to supply the battery or batteries. Honda’s CR-V powertrain is an example. Anyway, in the case of a predominantly urban use, sobriety is at the meeting point.
Limited capacity (expressed in kWh), the “batteries”, however, limit the range in “zero emission” mode to a handful of kilometers, not more. And it is still necessary that the only power of the electric motor is sufficient to move the vehicle, which is not always the case! Note that contrary to what some manufacturers ambiguously claim in their communication, the hybrid car does not actually recharge itself. But thanks to the combustion engine and/or the kinetic energy recovered when the car is in motion. So to the fossil fuel tank one way or another…
Living in an urban or rural environment, you do not travel more than fifty kilometers daily and can easily connect your car to the electrical grid at home and/or at work.
The right choice: the rechargeable hybrid (or PHEV for Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle)
Its working principle remains the same as that of the “simply short” hybrids. But here the battery has a much greater capacity and the electric motor, a much more generous power. The plug-in hybrid is therefore capable of traveling several tens of kilometers without using your combustion engine (petrol or diesel) and this, up to motorway speeds.
Disadvantage, paying the additional purchase cost (compared to an equivalent thermal car in particular) requires very regular refilling of the “batteries” to limit fuel consumption to a strict minimum. Otherwise, empty, the various backyards of batteries will only be there to multiply the appetite of the thermal block. This recharge may take some time, from one to several hours depending on the current power (expressed in kW) admitted by the battery and that supplied by the electrical network.
You are looking for a vehicle, possibly the second in the family, and you have easy access to a charging station (or dedicated wall installation), preferably high powered.
The right choice: electric
Gone are the days when manufacturers were content to electrify an existing model (VW Golf, Peugeot 208, Mini, etc.) within their range. Under pressure from European regulations for CO emissions targetstwo increasingly strict, today most design vehicles dedicated to this type of engine (Renault Zoé, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Porsche Taycan, VW ID.3, etc.), for which the installation of a battery and an electric motor is planned. since its genesis. This method allows the optimization of the different elements and, therefore, a more favorable power and autonomy.
The weakness of 100% electric cars it is no longer so much its range (approximately 400 km in real conditions for the best) as its recharge time/ease. Under the effect of various subsidies, often cumulative, but which will not be eternal, their tariff tends to (very) gradually become more democratic. But, with the exception of Tesla, which knew how to develop its cars and the environment that accompanies them, it is now up to the infrastructures to update themselves. In France, the network still suffers from a lack of density and/or reliability so that an electric car systematically becomes the only car in a house, capable of facing all uses.
Escaping the city center, you are obliged to travel several hundred kilometers very regularly in a short period of time, a fortiori on expressways or highways.
The right choice: thermal
Yes, the car without a battery or electric machine still makes sense. And not just from the point of view of mechanical sensations.
Accused of all evils (of which he is indeed guilty of some), diesel has been incredibly modernized in recent years. If it still emits nitrogen oxides (NOx) in particular, which makes it effectively unsuitable in the city, the famous “fuel oil”, as long as it meets the latest current regulations, should not produce more fine particles than its gas-powered contemporaries. .
Used wisely, on long journeys swallowed up in one go during which its pollution control system works optimally, it prides itself on a sometimes impressive sobriety and offers autonomy to mock the electric. And as for minimal downtime…
In a rapidly expanding technological context, pure and simple gasoline, more accessible to purchase, although often penalized with an implacable sanction, gradually loses its relevance. This type of internal combustion engine, however, has more than one trick up its sleeve. By converting to LPG, or better yet, to E85, it gives access (at least for the time being) to significant tax advantages and a fuel at a very low price compared to unleaded and diesel. Which largely compensates for its excessive consumption.
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