why the electric car is struggling to establish itself in Alsace

While French drivers have faced fuel shortages for several weeks, using an electric car could be a solution. In Alsace, the transition is still difficult, although it is accelerating.

This Monday, October 17, 2022, the Paris Motor Show opens, in a context of fuel crisis and transition to electric vehicles. The opportunity to take stock of the evolution of the electric car market in Alsace, where these vehicles are gradually gaining popularity, without, however, flooding the market.

The fleet of cars is starting its transition to all-electric, one of the big themes of the Paris Motor Show. In June 2022, the European Parliament voted to end sales of internal combustion vehicles in 2035, that is, in thirteen years. In France, drivers are encouraged to switch from their diesel or gasoline cars to an electric vehicle.

But buying such a car has a price. Batteries are expensive and electricity is often difficult for families. Although the share of electric vehicles in the car fleet has increased sharply (see chart below), diesel or gasoline cars still account for 98 % of Grand Est parking.

For this, there are aids, such as the ecological bonus, a bonus for the purchase of a clean vehicle. In an interview with Les Echos on October 17, President Emmanuel Macron also announced that he would increase this bonus from 6,000 to 7,000 euros for half of the homes (the most modest ones). An additional lever that should allow the automotive market to become electrified more quickly. Emmanuel Macron also indicated that the leasing device, which allows you to buy an electric vehicle for 100 euros a month, will see the light of day at the end of 2023.

Existing aid has, however, allowed Alsace dealers to see their electric vehicles increasingly popular. Hervé Egele, commercial director of the Peugeot dealership in Sélestat, explains that electric or hybrid cars already represent 35 % of your sales: “We’ve reached more than 60 % in March, at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, when the price of gasoline exploded.”

None of this would be possible without conversion help.

Herve Egele

Commercial Director of the Peugeot dealership in Sélestat

The commercial director adds that the profiles of electric vehicle buyers are different: “Some come out of opportunism, because fuel is getting more and more expensive. Others out of ecological conviction. But what is certain is that all this would not be possible without conversion assistance.”

Not everyone buys electric, therefore, but in any case, cleaner. As a result, the most polluting vehicles are gradually disappearing from the car fleet. In the Grand Est, the number of vehicles classified as “Crit’Air 5” decreased by almost 70 % between 2011 and 2021. At the same time, there are 18 times more vehicles classified as “Crit’Air” 1.

The evolution of vehicles according to their “Crit’Air” is of particular importance in the agglomerations of Strasbourg and Mulhouse. The Low Emission Zone (ZFE) of the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg was created on January 1, 2022. Its objective is to reduce air pollution, responsible for 40,000 deaths a year in the national territory, according to an estimate by Public Health France. To address this public health challenge, the most polluting vehicles will be phased out starting January 1, 2023.

This is the only ZFE in Alsace. But, as required by law, all French agglomerations with more than 150,000 inhabitants must create this area by January 1, 2025. M2A (Mulhouse Alsace Agglomation) will follow in the footsteps of the capital of Alsace.

In the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, vehicles classified as “Crit’Air 5” will be banned on January 1, 2023. A measure that should concern few people, the sticker representing just 1.3 % of passenger cars in 2021.

A year later, “Crit’Air 4” will in turn be banned, which represents 7 % of Strasbourg stock. It will then be the turn of “Crit’Air 3”, more than 23 % of passenger cars in the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg today. The ban on “Crit’Air 2” vehicles, planned for January 2028, should, for the time being, only concern four of the 33 municipalities in the Eurometropolis: Strasbourg, Schiltigheim, Ostwald and Holtzheim.

In Mulhouse, the most polluting vehicles (Crit’Air 5, 4 and 3) represent a larger share of the total number of private cars than in Strasbourg:

Another major challenge for these two cities, which will have to make room for electric vehicles: charging points. The autonomy of these cars increases, but they do not allow long journeys. Having terminals accessible to the public is therefore important.

The vast majority of 1.1 Millions of terminals in France are at home and in companies. Of all the existing ones in the country, only 70 000 are open to the public. And the Grand Est is one of the bad students: the region has only 82 terminals for 100 000 inhabitants. Only Pays de la Loire (68) and Brittany (79) fare less well.

But the momentum is accelerating. In 2021, 21 terminals were installed in the Eurometropolis of Strasbourg, that is, 42 charging points. The following year, between the months of January and August alone, there were 32 poles that were installed. Thus, 53 terminals were deployed between 2021 and the end of August 2022. And this is just the beginning: 250 terminals should see the light of day by the end of 2025, i.e. 500 charging points for electric vehicles. A new deployment should allow doubling that number a year later.

On the Mulhouse agglomeration side, the Mulhouse Alsace Agglomration (m2A) announced in February 2022 that between 50 and 150 terminals are to be installed during the year. At the time, m2A was looking for a private partner to deploy these stations.

Emmanuel Macron also assured that the price shield would be extended to charging stations in January 2023. A new way of not discouraging drivers from switching to electric, while the 30-cent discount on fuel was extended until mid-November for the first time. -Minister Elisabeth Borne.

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