Selling only 100% electric models? In France today, only a few rare brands such as Smart or Tesla have ever made this choice. But in less than eight years, starting in 2030, the two biggest manufacturers on the French market have already announced that they plan to no longer offer new thermal or hybrid vehicles in Europe! A real revolution and a gamble that may seem risky, as this type of engine is still quite marginal today on the Old Continent, despite a spectacular increase in sales. In France, in 2021, the e-208 thus represented only 20.3% of the registrations of the Peugeot 208. If the little Leone continued to be the queen of the ranking, it is therefore almost 80% thanks to its gasoline and diesel engines. ! As for the Renault Zoé, certainly now a little aged, it found 3.5 times fewer buyers than its brother, the Clio.
A technically viable bet
Technically speaking, the two French brands will, however, be ready to switch to 100% electric in 2030. Until this deadline, Losange will, in fact, have a scope capable of meeting the most varied expectations. After the “compact” Mégane E-Tech electric, we will see the arrival in 2023, on the same CMF-EV platform, of a more family-friendly crossover, which could take the name Scénic. It is then the R5 that will be responsible in 2024 for embodying a versatile city car, more accessible and sharper than the Zoe, while the new R4, also available in utility, will play small SUVs with a retro look in 2025. “Trendy” Kangoo is also planned for this year.
Less ahead on paper, for lack of a base specifically dedicated to this type of engine at the moment, Peugeot isn’t as far behind as it seems. Stellantis group’s future STLA platforms are all designed primarily for electric vehicles, and the future 3008 (project P64), due in late 2023, could add a new e-3008 variant to its palette. But it is above all the replacement of the 208, known under the project code P31, that will mark a real turning point, as it will no longer offer any heat engine. Same top for the successor (P34) of the 2008 small SUV, marketed soon after and using the same bases.
Clearly stated doubts
Customer acceptance very uncertain
The main doubt, however, lies with the actual adherence of customers to this drastic change that we would like to impose on them. Despite the multiple mechanisms implemented to promote them, and manufacturers who now prioritize them on deliveries to reduce their CO2 emissionstwo and avoid heavy fines, Electric cars have not yet reached 10% market share in 2021 in France. With a slightly higher proportion at Renault compared to Peugeot: 12.1% instead of 8.3%. The lack of a home or work charging solution for many buyers, especially the majority of those living in condominiums, obviously explains in part this situation.
But the thermal or hybrid models also maintain a clear price advantage at the moment, and price parity between the two engine types is not expected until 2025-2026 at best. Knowing that it will also experience a general increase in the price of new cars under pressure from anti-pollution and safety regulations, which may force some customers to resort to second-hand goods or to keep their vehicle for longer. Add to that the current increase in the cost of raw materials affecting batteries, and the future Renault 5, initially planned for less than €20,000, could end up earning between €22,000 and €24,000 at the very least!
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The Clio and 208 Thermal will withstand
For all these reasons, the two brands therefore planned a strategy to avoid a possible industrial and commercial disaster. At Peugeot, this will notably involve keeping the current 208 in the catalog well after its replacement arrives. A tactic already used by another brand of the Stellantis group, Fiat, with its 500. To look good, long after the retirement age, the city-dweller in Lion will, however, be entitled to a second refurbishment, quite significant . While its production will be carried out exclusively in Kenitra, in Morocco, allowing the amortization of costs even more. Under the hood, we find the new three-cylinder 1.2 PureTech, scheduled for launch in 2023 and which will be predisposed to the Euro 7 (2026) emissions standard. As for Renault, it has recently revised its product plan to add a Clio 6. The latter will be another major evolution of the current model and should only be available as a hybrid, with a new 1.8 E-Tech. Thus, it will be possible to offer a cheaper alternative to the R5… even after 2030, if there are still enough buyers!
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