Ecoplanet | These Alpines Bought an Electric Car: “We Couldn’t Live Without It”

Mobile phones, electrical appliances, heating… Electricity occupies a central place in our daily lives. And if the car, equipped with a combustion engine, was somehow an exception, this may not happen for a long time. Because the development of electric vehicles has been spectacular in recent years. In France, 162,106 electric cars were sold in 2021, compared to just 2,662 in 2011, according to the specialized website. Automotive Cleaning. If last year this represents “only” 10% of the total number of cars registered in the whole country, this market share will increase a lot in the coming years.

In addition, electric sirens have already seduced people from the Lower Alps, motivated by several reasons: absence of noise and greenhouse gas emissions, drop in the cost of use, driving comfort, etc.”We wanted to innovate and diversify to complete our diesel“, explains Christian Boniteau, a resident of Bayons north of Sisteron.

“Except the tyres, €0 maintenance in 4 years and 50,000 km”

The 250 km range of their Nissan Leaf, bought new for €32,000 (excluding the €6,000 state bonus) four years ago, allows them to make the weekly round trip to Sisteron or Gap. “If we go to Aix-en-Provence, we lose about thirty kilometers on the way back. We must therefore charge at a semi-fast terminal in Sisteron, but it is expensive“. They count about 10 euros for a partial recharge that only allows them to join the Bayons.

At the Mas des Quintrands hotel in Manosque, an electric Peugeot Partner appeared five years ago. “We have very special working conditionsexplains Hervé Graff, the owner of Aurore. We needed a cart to clean the rooms, but we don’t have shelter. So we thought of using the thermal car. But we soon realized that stopping every 5 meters damages“.

The choice of electric, therefore, seemed obvious. Especially since electric charging costs next to nothing and terminals are now located everywhere. “In the beginning, there were free fast terminals in the parking lots of some supermarkets. In 20 or 25 minutes we reach 80% charge because we have a small battery with a range of 100 km. Today, it costs us around 4 euros for 100 kilometers“, against a ten euros for a thermal partner.

The cost of use, much lower in terms of fuel, is also drastically lower for maintenance. No more oil changes and other expensive repairs. While a car with a combustion engine has an average of 250 parts, an electric car has less than 50. Thanks to this important factor, Christian Boniteau’s and Hervé Graff’s family simply had no costs to incur. “We movedit’s once the tires in four years and 50,000 kilometers“, notes Christian Boniteau.”We spent zero euros for four years and 28,000 kilometers“, confirms Herve Graff.

The economy also guided Rémi Sciallano’s choice when, last January, he bought a Skoda Enyaq. The 34-year-old businessman, however, is a great entrepreneur, as he lives in Vachères and goes out every day to support his internet agency located… in Aubagne. This represents, therefore, a minimum of 240 kilometers per day for an average range of your vehicle of 400 km. “There’s a public terminal right behind my company’s headquarters. I bought a card for 12 euros that gives me access to a charge of 5 euro cents per minute. I’m very predictable. As soon as I get to a place, I charge. Same thing when I get home, I immediately call my terminal, it’s the cheapest. Thanks to my mobile app, I always make sure I have an 80% battery and turn on the heating remotely, before getting into the vehicle. it’s another wayyou drive, you expect much more. These are habits to take“.

In the end, the monthly savings over your previous thermal vehicle is almost unbelievable: “500 euros“Only in fuel. A gain necessarily reduced by the purchase price of the vehicle (45,000 euros excluding a bonus of 6,000 euros from the State), a little more expensive than a thermal car but which would continue to be very profitable.”I absolutely do not regret“, swears the young father. It is also very difficult to find a user who regrets his choice of tram.

With the three families interviewed, this technology is unanimous. And beyond the financial aspect, driving comfort is an argument that comes up consistently. “It’s more flexible and pleasant“, believes Rémi Sciallano.”After trying electric, it’s hard to live without it. We drive completely differently, less aggressively“, recognizes Hervé Graff.”It’s day and night with the thermal. It’s exceptional driving, easy and smart. And when you press the pedal, you get an immediate response.“, explains in turn Christian Boniteau. Hard to be more convincing…

Maxime Fontanier, independent journalist: “Today, the electric vehicle is the most efficient”

The enthusiast and specialist is convinced by the electric technology.Photo @dan.latif

When we think about buying an electric vehicle, we almost mechanically go through the box YouTube to see test drives of different models. It is therefore impossible to miss the tests performed by Maxime Fontanier. The freelance journalist for twenty years, who collaborates in particular for the specialized magazine Auto Moto and the website automotive clean knows the technology at their fingertips and explains it to the greatest number in videos that systematically count hundreds of thousands of views. “I try almost every new electric carhe announces. People need to have a lot of information“.

Thanks to this passion”for everything that happens“, the father who lives in the Paris region has a great knowledge and perspective on the development of this new type of vehicle that hit the market with the Renault Zoé almost ten years ago, but which is taking a particular scale. years.”An electric car is closer to a cell phone than a traditional carhe watches. It must be understood as such in its use and in its architecture. There are far fewer parts than in a thermal car“. Other advantages: no more gearshift levers, oil changes and, of course, going to the gas pump. But you still need to find a terminal to recharge your vehicle. And at this point, the specialist assures him: “The network is very big“. The cost of use is also much cheaper. Count about 2.50 euros to travel 100 kilometers with a Peugeot e-208, against ten euros for its thermal brother.”My job is to say what’s good or badrecalls Maxime Fontanier. And there’s a lot more positive things about electric compared to thermal, and yet I love thermal. Today, the electric vehicle is more efficient, easier to use, healthier for the planet, offers more comfort and makes no noise. You may wonder why we didn’t do this before“.

There remains a big black stain that cools the ardor of many French people who want to dive: the price. Despite the bonus currently granted by the State for the purchase of new vehicles from less than 45,000 euros to 6,000 euros, the investment to be made is often too high. “Even though I’m conquered by technology, I don’t drive electric, regrets the specialized journalist. The price is totally crazy“. The Telsa Model 3, the cheapest of the American brand, is shown for no less than 50,000 euros… For French women, the entry-level Peugeot e-208 is exchanged for around 30,000 euros. connected to huge batteries. The electric car can, however, become affordable for all income levels in a short time”.Prices will necessarily be bdown through economies of scale in less than five yearsreassures Nicolas Fontanier. And the arrival of Chinese vehicles on the market will also contribute to this.“.

In lower alpine retailers: “30% of our sales are electric”

Faced with the American giant Telsa, most traditional vehicle manufacturers are trying to position themselves in the electric market. For the Peugeot dealership in Manosque, the change was quick. Because currently, 30% of the cars sold by the brand in the city of Giono are electric or hybrid. “With fuel prices soaring, everyone comes to us saying they need an electric car.“, explains Dimitri Jourdain, the director. During the open days of March, 15 new cars were sold, including 11 with electric or hybrid engines.”In Manosque we had a strong increase in demand since January“, adds the manager who offers the e-208 and its range of 360 km from 30,000 euros. A price, from which 6,000 euros in state aid must be withdrawn, among the lowest on the market for an electric vehicle in this range.”And with 137 horsepower, it’s almost a GTI“, guarantees Dimitri Jourdain.

Mercedes, the high-end German brand, is perhaps a little further behind its French competitor in the electric market. “It’s not the majority of our market, but we can feel that there was demand for a short month and rising fuel prices. It’s a lot of environmentally sensitive people“, observes Vincent Guillois, director of the Mercedes network of Gap, Sisteron and Manosque. The German brand still offers several models including QA around 45 to 50,000 euros.”We are slightly more expensive than our competitors while maintaining our high quality standard“, continues Vincent Guillois.

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