for a gradual and realistic transition to electricity

The European Commission’s plan to reduce CO2 emissions from new cars in Europe to zero by 2035, adopted by the 27 members of the European Union on 29 June, is a step in the right direction. The measure should contribute to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. But it is imperative to reconsider the deadlines set to implement it. The deadline should be extended from 2035 to 2040.

Because ?

Simply because to date France has only 62,000 charging stations! The government has planned 100,000 terminals by the end of 2021, a year later we are far from that.

Clearly the account is not there. Due to the lack of time to implement the billing system by 2035, it will be impossible for the French to reach the workplace or travel to certain areas. The Fédération de la Distribution Automobile represents after-sales professionals (spare parts distribution and workshop networks) who respond every day at 1,300 points of sale and workshops to the needs of millions of French people for their travels, of which two thirds are made by car. that’s why she alert public authorities for months about a massive social phenomenon: the inability of many of our fellow citizens to equip themselves with a new car generation! In other words, the poorest families opt for repairs because millions of them cannot give up their vehicle in the short term in favor of an electric version due to lack of financial means.

The numbers speak for themselves for the second quarter of 2022: the growth of the activity of the professions represented by FEDA in the light vehicle is in strong progression. During the spring of 2022, we saw an increase of +12% compared to last year’s exceptional results (+29.5%).

On the other hand, the new market continues to erode, and with only 1.65 million vehicles registered in 2020 as it is in 2021, it is reaching historically low levels – one has to go back to 1975 to find lower sales.

It is in this context that the European Commission intends to ban the sale of new gasoline or diesel vehicles in 2035, in favor of 100% electric or hydrogen cars. Other engines – thermal and hybrid – would therefore be prohibited. Such a trajectory will be even less socially sustainable, as at the same time low-emission zones (ZFE) are being implemented by 2025 in 45 cities and towns. Representing a third of the French population, these metropolises probably constitute, for the populations that live in the peripheries, prohibited areas! It goes without saying that daily mobility was at the origin, with the rise in prices at the pump, of the longest and most violent social crisis of the last five years, that of the Yellow Vests.

Clearly, we do not currently have the means to move in this direction without serious social and industrial consequences.

We alert the new government to the rejection that this measure will cause in the middle classes. This deprivation of mobility can once again lead to strong social upheaval.

It is true that the 27 members of the Union, under the influence of some countries, have agreed to make room for alternative technologies, such as synthetic fuels or rechargeable hybrid engines, if they allow the end goal to be achieved. The system adopted in June 2022 may be revised in 2026 in the light of technological developments.

The French understand very well that the path taken for the decarbonisation of transport and, more generally, for the energy transition, is inevitable but, like us professionals, they doubt our country’s ability to catch up.

Bets are also international. France, which seeks to break free from dependence on Russian gas and oil, would thus place itself under the influence of China, where most of the rare earths come from. To achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the European Union will need 35 times more lithium to equip itself with batteries than today. Up to 26 times more rare earths will be needed, twice as much nickel, not to mention copper, whose needs are also growing very rapidly. All these essential elements for tomorrow’s equipment (electric cars, wind turbine rotors, storage units, etc.) currently controlled by… China!

France cannot manage this conversion without risk, with half the nuclear fleet closed! EDF has just released forecasts for electricity production in our country: while in 2018 France produced 393 TWH, it will only produce 300 to 330 TWH from its power plants. in 2023!

An obvious solution is needed: the gradual transition!

There is no need to deny the reality, France and the other EU states will not be ready for 2035. Forcing fate in this way would be madness. The thermal fleet has about 44 million vehicles. It won’t disappear overnight! It must therefore be less polluting. For this, maintenance is a way to smoothly support the transition and reduce the tons of CO2 produced daily.

France must use all its weight in the rest of the decision-making process in Brussels to get that deadline. This is, so far, the only solution to prevent our country from experiencing a new social crisis, and Europe, from a major industrial accident!