This one says: ” The consequences of a policy that bets everything on electricity, without taking into account its social cost and that obviously ignores the economic reality that will lead to a 50% increase in car prices. The rest of his ideas about the electric car to find out in his text written especially for The Good Life.
A desire to modernize the means of transport
Let’s meet in the United States in 1834; specifically in Vermont. Thomas Davenport is a blacksmith and blacksmith there. Contemplating the horses he equips with irons, he imagines the decline of their use. He dreams of being associated with the transport revolution, of which the emergence of the railways is one of the most emblematic elements.
Also, an avid reader, fascinated by the writings of André-Marie Ampère, self-taught like himself, who gave electricity its first structured theory. Davenport devotes his spare time to developing an electric motor that he believes will make history. And he succeeds on the 27th of November of this year, 1834.
Towards a new way of life?
So since the beginning of xxand century and the introduction of the Ford T, the heat engine supplanted the various avatars of the electric motor. And, in 2019, the balance sheet remains unappealable. Oil represents 90% of the energy used in transport, and the use of electricity is the prerogative of rail transport.
Why didn’t Davenport’s emulators do better? For reasons that became apparent very quickly. The first concerns the problem of storing electricity. Despite advances in the battery industry, the cost of supplying electricity has, in practice, maintained the comparative advantage of gasoline. The second is that the circulation of electricity in the lines that carry it over long distances, but also in the cables used to recharge the batteries, leads to the loss of part of the energy in the form of heat, which whoever has done a little physics will known as the Joule effect.
Electric car craze
Today, the situation has changed. The climate emergency demands that the use of fossil fuels be kept as low as possible. For this, relying on electricity is a solution that is all the more conceivable as the electric motor and battery are increasingly efficient. However, electricity is not a panacea. First, its use assumes that it does not come from the combustion of coal and oil…
The logic, in the current state of affairs, is therefore to develop nuclear energy, even if it arouses anxiety and reservations about its environmental impact. Furthermore, the development of the electric car requires a conversion of the industrial apparatus, the economic and social consequences of which are probably still underestimated.
Disagreements around this solution
Carlos Tavares, the head of Stellantis, does not hesitate to criticize the haste of European leaders in their announcements in favor of the electric car now that they have voted to ban the sale of vehicles with thermal engines from 2035. public opinion on the consequences of a policy that bets everything on electricity, without taking into account its social cost and which clearly ignores the economic reality that will lead to a 50% increase in car prices.
Indeed, some commentators feel that many officials who claim to have Chimene’s eyes for the electric car are aware of the unrealistic nature of their commitment. They would only be so determined because they hope to stimulate research efforts among industrialists to expand the decarbonization of the economy thanks to improving the performance of the combustion engine and the emergence of alternative energies. , of which electricity would be a component.
After all, Jules Verne, who remains a precursor in collective memory, was not, in his novel, Paris at xxand century, did you imagine that in 1960, one hundred years after the writing of your text, individual trips would be made in hydrogen vehicles? This was not the case in 1960, but it may be in 2060, for then, as in 1860 or 1960, the electricity transported will continue to be subject to the Joule effect…
Discover the works of Jean-Marc Daniel at Éditions Tallandier.
> Rediscovering the Physiocrats posted on October 10, 2022
> Long live liberalism! posted on September 1, 2022
> History of the world economy posted on August 26, 2021
> economics treaty posted on August 3, 2021