Electric car: direct on the wall

Electric car: they went crazy! The book by François-Xavier Pietri, economics journalist, co-founder of the Capital on M6 program, former editor of the daily La Tribune, is beneficial in more ways than one. It has the merit of making us reflect on the folly of politicians when they succumb to lobbies.

by André Degon

We were impatiently waiting for such work to settle the score. Because, finally, that Brussels bans the sale of cars with heat engines or hybrids in 2035 is totally absurd because it is not realistic. F.- X. Pietri simply explains with clear arguments that such a decision is not applicable. Banning new diesel and gasoline engines as well as hybrids, converting an entire fleet of cars to electricity without having the industrial capabilities and charging station coverage is a challenge. Furthermore, the author explains to us that the cost of recharging a Zoé “ it can go up to 15 euros for 100 km of autonomy on the Ionity network… It’s simply 1 or 2 euros more than the cost of unleaded fuel or diesel for a Clio. For this we can ask ourselves if, at this rate, in 2035, we will have enough electricity for our needs or if we will have to choose between driving or heating? California, which has just decided to phase out the combustion engine in favor of electric vehicles by 2035, was forced last August due to the heat wave to ban electric car charging.

concerned builders

Builders, obliged to follow the policies, are, however, concerned, in particular by the threat that looms over employment (100,000 jobs are in the spotlight in France, 500,000 in Europe). In fact, where five workers are needed to manufacture a thermal vehicle, only three are needed for an electric vehicle. Not to mention the downturn in the sector (subcontractors, equipment manufacturers), 400,000 people in France. And, icing on the cake, with this decision to electrify the European market, Brussels opens the door to Chinese manufacturers, who have performed wonderfully. In twenty years, they learned from European manufacturers how to make cars thanks to the transfer of technologies. They opened their doors for European manufacturers to learn better. In 2005, Chinese cars that were discovered at the Paris Motor Show could not be sold on the European market because they failed to pass crash tests.

In the last World Cup, which has become a French-Asian car show, the Chinese present brands like Aiways, BYD, Great Wall Motors, Geely… totally unknown with electric motors. Isn’t that what Brussels wants? In addition, they are guaranteed for 7 years and have the best crash test ratings. Also, since they have a virtual monopoly on battery manufacturing, they are the masters of the game: to make a battery, you need cobalt, lithium, and rare earths. Cobalt comes mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where 40,000 children and 200,000 adults, according to NGOs, dig the soil with their bare hands for $1 a day.

More greenhouse gases

F.-X. Pietri notes that ” Cobalt refining is 80% supplied by Chinese interests…[ à la Chine] de facto control of the world market and its prices “. As for rare earths (17 metals used in new technologies such as cell phones and computers) China produces 80%. As for lithium from South America, it takes 2 million liters of water to extract a ton. no need to mention the drought of the land.
We should mention the fact that the production of an electric car emits more greenhouse gases than a thermal car (ADEME, agency for the environment and energy management). Could we also conjure up what the author calls the puzzle of the 700,000 tons of batteries to be recycled in 2035 and ask ourselves with what energy will we produce electricity? On the other hand, who are rubbing their hands are the Chinese who offer electric cars 20% cheaper than Europeans. There is no doubt that the government’s €7,000 bonus will end up in the pockets of Chinese manufacturers.

So there is no way out? Yes sure. If we had let the manufacturers work without this mad rush, we could have moved on to other solutions: CNG, natural gas for vehicles, which pollutes little, the production of synthetic fuels, bio CNG obtained from methanization, hydrogen, improving the consumption of thermal engines . In 15 years, we went from 12 l/100 km to 6 or 7 l/100 km. By lightening the cars and working on the engines, we can further reduce consumption.

So all business ceasing, read quickly Electric car: they went crazy. It’s exciting, instructive and documented.


– Electric car: maddened by François-Xavier Pietri, editions of the Observatory. 203 pages, 19 euros.

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