Could the current energy crisis kill the electric car?

€1000 per MWh. This is the incredible record reached three days ago on the wholesale electricity market in France. A year ago, this MWh was trading at €85, which represents a spectacular increase of 1000%. After months of vertiginous rise in the price of a barrel of oil, Europe and its partners are thus faced with an even more serious energy crisis that is causing panic among governments. In the UK, where regulated electricity prices have already increased by 80% for homes across the country, strikes and demonstrations are on the rise. In France, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne is preparing emergency measures to limit the damage as much as possible. A new device that replaces the current tariff shield, financed at 20 billion euros, should arrive by the end of the year to regulate gas and electricity prices.

“We owe this unprecedented rise in the price of electricity to the particularity of our current European system”explains Nicolas Meilhan, Senior Consultant at and energy expert. “the wholesale price of electricity is defined not by the average cost of our production plants, but by the last plant in the grid. However, this last power plant in the network is a gas power plant. And as the price of gas has recently been multiplied by 20 (to €320 per MWh), things are exploding.”.

So what are the immediate consequences for the French? “Fortunately in France, regulated electricity costs, EDF’s blue tariff currently set at less than 15 euro cents per kWh during off-peak hours, protects the consumer, even if it may soon be re-evaluated in contained proportions. . who chose to go through unregulated private providers, on the other hand, are already getting bills at 40 cents per kWh. I also advise everyone to quickly return to regulated electricity to avoid this kind of surprise.”explains Nicolas Meilhan.

What is the impact on the electric car?

In recent years, the low cost of using the electric car has naturally been one of the biggest advantages of this technology. Despite a purchase price that is generally higher than that of a similar thermal vehicle, the low price of a complete electric battery allows sailing after a few years of use. A few months ago, at the height of the Ukrainian crisis, when a barrel of oil flirted with $130 and a liter of gasoline cost more than €2, driving an electric car seemed like the ideal solution. And now ? “Without protective measures, the electricity bill to recharge your car’s batteries would be multiplied by 4 or 5. Therefore, it is impossible to keep this technology attractive in the eyes of the customer. Even more assuming that this increase in the price of electricity will also influence its construction cost. In short, everything will depend on the intensity of the protection measures that govern the price of our electricity in France. But sooner or later we will pay the real price in taxes.”

The prospect of filling up at home, the cost of which would be multiplied by 4, would undoubtedly have something to put off the average customer. And let’s not even talk about the price increase of fast charging on networks like Ionity: “I imagine these networks will be subsidized to avoid finding prices too dissuasive”thinks Nicolas Meilhan.

And how long will this unprecedented crisis last? “The current crisis is worse than the oil shocks because it concerns oil as well as electricity and gas. But we have no alternative to this last energy currently in Europe. Gas allows our entire industry to function. Without Russian gas, we have no other solution. That’s why I think we have no choice but to go back to negotiating with Russia to unblock the situation. It’s about protecting our industries and our entire economy. Anyway, with these energy prices, we’re going to end up mechanically destroying demand. »

So you thought we’d never see worse than a tank full of lead-free at €2 a litre?

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