Electric cars pull all the stops

IImposed in the short term by European regulations, the electrification of the automotive industry is reorganizing the cards, offering new manufacturers who have mastered this technology the opportunity to establish themselves in the Old Continent, in particular in the French market, which is very generous in the incentive plan for the purchase of low-emission cars (see box).

But, against all odds, the many Chinese brands landing in Europe are not all choosing to attack the low market, far from it. Thus, scheduled to arrive in concessions at the end of the year, the cheapest electric car marketed in France by a Middle Kingdom manufacturer is the LeapMotor T03, a 3.62 m long mini-urban whose prices start at €25,990. Certainly, it is a priori intended to compete with the Fiat 500 and (€30,400), but still significantly more expensive than the Dacia Spring (€19,800), it’s actually more rustic and less powerful, but for now it retains the title of the most affordable electric model offered on the Hexagon.

Chinese pavilion. Last born of MG, a former English brand that passed under the Chinese flag when it was bought by the giant SAIC in 2007, the MG4 (€28,990) is a compact sedan (length: 4.29 m) that is positioned especially at the front of the electric Renault Mégane E-Tech (€35,200). Indeed, the brand’s success in Europe – particularly in France, where more than 6,500 MGs were sold over the course of nine months in 2022 – appears to have inspired other Asian heavyweights in the industry.

Thus, BYD (Build Your Dreams), a battery manufacturer based in Shenzhen that extended its activity to automotive production during the 2000s, announced the upcoming launch of three models on the French market. At €38,000, the Atto 3 (4.45 m) wants to compete with the Volkswagen ID.3 (€44,990), while the big Han roadster and the big Tang SUV (offered for €72,000 in both cases) aim to climb to the level of premium models such as the Tesla Model S and Model X.

Solar roof. A high-end positioning also adopted by the new Vietnamese manufacturer VinFast. After the imposing SUV VF8 (4.75 m, €62,000, rival of the Tesla Model Y) and VF9 (5.12 m, €82,950), available in early 2023, the compact VF6 (4.25 m) and VF7 ( 4.30 m), whose prices have not yet been announced, but whose format should be more suited to the European market, will in turn arrive in concessions in France at the end of 2023 or beginning of 2024.

Another competitor, Fisker, the famous Danish car designer, will market his family SUV (4.77 m) in France called Ocean in the first half of 2023. Assembled by Magna in Austria, the Ocean is built on an aluminum platform that can integrate two battery types of chemistry: lithium, iron, phosphate for a range of 440 km; lithium, manganese, cobalt to reach 630 km range. Its price will start at €41,900 in France. The top-of-the-range versions may also have a sunroof that allows you to gain 7 to 8 km of sun exposure per day.

France, champion of electric car aid

Emmanuel Macron announced at the Paris Motor Show that the ecological bonus for the purchase of an electric vehicle of less than 47,000 euros will be increased from 6,000 euros to 7,000 euros for half of the poorest French people. The conversion bonus, which can reach €5,000, will be increased by €1,000 for inhabitants of ZFEs. Finally, the development of zero-rate loans of up to €30,000 for the purchase of a new vehicle or leasing at €100 per month for an electric car from 2024 are also part of the aid studied by the government.

Super aerodynamic. But these newcomers will find established manufacturers in their path that are already well advanced in their conversion. Thus, the Korean Hyundai will complete its range from 2023 with the Ioniq 6, a large (4.85 m) super aerodynamic electric road car (Cx of 0.21) to reduce its consumption and extend its range up to 614 km. A principle that it shares with the recent Mercedes EQS and EQE, and also with the future Volkswagen ID.7, scheduled for launch in 2023. Meanwhile, the German giant has just added to its range its first electric van, the ‘ID . Buzz, heir to the famous Combi.

French brands are not left out. Thus, the current electric Renaults, Twingo, Zœ, Megane, will soon be joined by the R5 and 4 L that play skillfully with the notoriety of their ancestors and whose respective commercialization is planned for 2024 and 2025. The diamond brand also comes from the launch of its new compact SUV, Austral (4.51 m), equipped with a new generation hybrid system (non-rechargeable) more powerful (180 or 200 hp) for the benefit of driving pleasure, but above all more sober, with consumption from 4.5 l/100 km and therefore CO emissionstwo of 102 g/km allowing you to escape any penalty.

ultra luxury. The Stellantis group, whose boss Carlos Tavares has announced that he will “soon” produce no less than twelve electric models in France, has just presented the Jeep Avenger, a mini SUV (4.08 m) with a range of 400 km thanks to a current optimized traction (156 hp, 54 kWh battery) that will soon also benefit from the Peugeot e-208 and DS3. Pending the electric versions of the 308, 3008 and 5008, the new lion-branded sports crossover, called the 408, will be available as a rechargeable hybrid in 2023 and electric in 2024.

Even better, the giant with twelve car brands will soon launch a Maserati Granturismo Folgore whose electric motors develop an accumulated power of 830 hp thanks to a 92.5 kWh lithium-ion battery.

Finally, German “premium” brands are also completing their conversion to “zero emissions”. Mercedes has thus managed to develop, in a few years, a 100% electric parallel range, with the latest models being the improved versions of the great EQS and EQE road cars. Thus, the SUV EQS (5.13 m) has a huge battery of 108.4 kWh for a range of 596 km, while the SUV EQE (4.86 m) is content with a capacity of 90.6 kWh to reach almost the same range of 590 km. The same objective for BMW, which is launching its iX1 compact SUV in a high-performance configuration: two electric motors with a combined power of 313 hp to drive its four wheels and a 64.7 kWh battery allowing a range of 438 km. Even Rolls-Royce, the group’s ultra-luxury brand, is preparing to launch its first zero-emission model with the Specter, a monumental 5.45 m long coupe whose 585 hp is powered by a 700 kg battery. which allows a range of 520 km. For around €400,000, the greats of the world will also be able to sail silently through the clear gulfs.

SP (x8)

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