Posted on October 24, 2022
Article available as a podcast here.
The interest of the electric car
Less reliance on fuel
The first criticism of the electric car comes from its dependence on China’s batteries and rare earths. We will see later that the use of rare earths is reduced thanks to industrialists. As for China, we are already dependent on it for most of our products, especially electronics, and that doesn’t seem to bother anyone…
But this criticism seems to forget the current situation.
We are daily dependent on a fuel that we do not produce. If a gasoline shortage occurs, France stops rotating in just a few days (see strikes). If more than one battery arrives in France, it affects production, but the entire fleet continues to run. The disadvantages will only appear after several months or even years.
Also, France will never produce oil and a gasoline car will never run on anything but oil. We have no chance of being independent with a gas-powered car.
While nothing prohibits France from producing batteries, or even batteries without rare earths. We are more likely to be independent in design and consumption with an electric car.
Fleet consumption flexibility
An internal combustion engine is a technological cathedral that tolerates no flexibility. Simply changing the fuel, such as switching from diesel to lead, makes it unusable.
We are not talking about exchanging oil for gas or coal, just exchanging one oil product for another. Fuel oil, diesel, gasoline or kerosene are not interchangeable in engines. In terms of innovation, we are stuck with a fleet that is impossible to improve without changing everything.
A fleet of electric cars consumes only electricity. However, this can come from various energy sources such as solar, nuclear or gas.
The fleet of cars can be recharged with coal plants and switched to nuclear without changing a single car. Imagine, for example, a rotating fleet with gas plants: fleet efficiency can be increased by switching from conventional plants (30% efficiency) to combined cycle plants (+60% efficiency) without changing a single car.
In addition to gaining independence in the electric car consumable, we can distribute these consumables among various energy sources to avoid any shortages and secure the fleet very easily.
The headache of all-oil and its submission is reduced with the electric car. However, the problem of autonomy and the availability of charging stations remains.
The market response
The terminal and battery problems are minor problems that show above all the pessimism of the environment.
In any electric car, its only technological obstacle is autonomy. This is a slight block as current batteries already allow 400 km of autonomy. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the capacities by a factor of 3.
All this is minimal. In the last century, we domesticated nuclear energy, sent men to the moon, created particle colliders, connected the entire world to the Internet. But would designing a car battery three times more efficient be impossible?
While society remains bleak, industrialists and scientists are forging ahead.
Tesla has just released its cobalt-free battery. GMG starts manufacturing graphene batteries. Toyota launches its first hydrogen-powered Mirai car.
Again, France doesn’t produce a drop of oil, but we have gas stations every 10 km. However, when we produce our electricity and we already have an electricity grid, would it be impossible to install charging stations?
Fortunately, pessimism is not contagious to everyone. Tesla continues to scour the territory of its terminals. Switzerland has already made its own mesh.
It’s maddening to see the current pessimism. Electric cars look like a technological wall, but it is just a step, a minimal step that the market has taken care to facilitate with a full range of products.
An offer available to everyone
There are already fully gasoline cars that have reduced their consumption. Mercedes has only wanted to add an electric motor since 2008 to help gain efficiency in the gasoline engine.
Toyota has offered hybrids for 20 years to switch between gas and electric driving, all without worrying about electric charging.
Then came plug-in hybrids like the Hyundai Ioniqs. We ended up with two cars in one capable of operating and recharging both gasoline and electric.
We can collect the BMW i3 product. It was an electric car with a small emergency gasoline engine to generate electricity in case of a terminal failure…
And finally, electric-only cars, like those from Tesla or Renault.
Companies are actively removing technology roadblocks. Meanwhile, the market offers a wide range between 100% gasoline and 100% electric.
The electric car is a clear improvement over gasoline powered cars. It is a vector for the emancipation of Europe from the submission of oil. The market already offers answers to battery and terminal problems. It also offers a wide range for a smooth transition.
But neither the state nor the ecologists are kind. They impose their timetable with the end of gasoline cars in 2035, when neither consumers nor manufacturers are ready yet.
Armed with their ideological hammer, they see in the car only a nail to drive, the muse of selfish and polluting individual liberties to be knocked down. Too bad the state strategist could have an industrial vision capable of revitalizing France.