the electric car still has many challenges ahead

The car with a gasoline or diesel engine has its days numbered, the electric car you must supplant it. Several are the markets that have put a date to the end of the commercialization of these cars.

At UK will be in 2030, in Japan Y California will be in 2035, while European Union could toughen in such a way the mean of CO₂ emissions that the car with an unhybridized heat engine would be out of the market de facto. Ok, but in concrete terms, what does that mean? Will the gasoline car disappear completely?

An obvious question mark raised by these types of bans is simply whether the market is ready. We are not talking about the manufacturers that in one way or another can offer electric cars and plug-in hybrids with great autonomy for sale. The question is whether people will take the plunge and buy an electric car.

The price will not be a brake, the costs do not stop falling and the cars to improve

Hyundai Kona Eléctrico

The first variable that generates this unknown is the price of the electric car. Currently the most accessible models with correct autonomies (between 240 and 300 km) cost from approximately 30,000 euros without aid, we are talking about the Renault Zoe Y Peugeot e-208, for example.

If we go to a larger autonomy (more than 400 km), prices are around 43,000 euros without aid or discounts, as is the case of the Hyundai Kona Eléctrico 64 kWh or Volkswagen ID.3 1st. For a comfortable range, we go to Tesla and Porsche models that happily exceed 60,000 euros in many cases.

The average price of a battery is $ 137 per kWh. In 2010, it was $ 1,100 per kWh.

The electric car is still an expensive product and it is true that the relationship between price and range has generally fallen. Six years ago, an electric vehicle with about 200 km of autonomy approved with the ridiculous NEDC cycle involved an outlay of between 32,000 and 35,000 euros. When today for that price we already have models with at least 240 km of real autonomy.

Peugeot e-208

Although the prices themselves have not fallen, the cars have improved, as a result of the lower cost of batteries, the media is now at $ 137 per kWh when in 2010 it was higher than $ 1,100 per kWh. And that at term will mean cheaper cars. If the descent continues, of course. And is that the price of lithium, for example, starts to rebound which would mean more expensive batteries. And therefore more expensive electric cars.

Replacing 280 million gasoline and diesel cars with electric cars will take time

end of gasoline car

Thus, according to the predictions made by the Plateforme Automobile (PFA) based on data from the ICCT and recently published by Argus after a conference by the MAP Observatory, the electric car should reach the 40% of sales in 2040 in Europe, leaving a market share of 27% for the plug-in hybrid, 15% for the gasoline car and still 7% for diesel.

That is, it is feasible for the electric car to have a market. However, that does not mean that as many cars will continue to be sold as now or that the gasoline car will disappear.

Jean Christophe Gougeon T8bdfvkhnqy Unsplash (Foto: Jean Christophe Gougeon)

According to PwC consultant which ensures “in 2030, Europe will have 80 million fewer cars as a result of shared transport and digitization”. Even so, for the renovation of the park to be total it may take several decades.

Each year approximately the equivalent of 5.5% of the European fleet of 280 million cars is sold

There are currently 280 million cars in circulation in Europe, according to the THAT, and about 15.5 million new cars are sold each year in Europe (are data from 2019, since 2020 is a very atypical year). In other words, approximately the equivalent of 5.5% of the European fleet is sold each year.

Of those 15.5 million cars, only 2% were 100% electric cars, about 310,000 vehicles. With an average age of the European fleet of 11 years, for the electric car to reach a significant spot in the fleet, decades can pass. Even with a market share of 40% in 2030, to renovate a fleet of 200 million cars, following PwC’s prediction, that would not be more than 2% of the fleet each year that would be renewed So.

Adapted infrastructures and green energies

electric car charging point

Still, we would not necessarily have the CO₂ problem solved. Yes, we would significantly reduce NOx and fine particle oxides, but just because a car has zero emissions when driving does not mean that it does not pollute.

Beyond the pollution generated by the manufacture of batteries, transport of the car and other processes (also attributable to a gasoline car, of course), we cannot forget that an electric car pollutes depending on how the electricity was generated you use (renewable, nuclear or thermal).

electric car charging point

For example, in France an electric car would emit an average of 13 g / km of CO₂, in Spain It would be 58 g / km, in Germany 95 g / km and in Poland … 170 g / km of CO₂. That is, as much or more than some cars with gasoline or diesel engines.

And finally there is the problem of charging points. Europe currently has almost 200,000 charging points and 75% of all charging infrastructure is concentrated in just four countries.

“There is a real risk that we will reach a point where growth in the sale of electric cars stops, if consumers see that there are not enough terminals where they want to go,” highlighted the director of ACEA, Eric-Mark Huitema. And he adds that about 170,000 of those charging points have powers less than 22 kW.

It is not so much about multiplying the charging points by a thousand, but about having an infrastructure adapted to the demand. And it is that having to wait several hours (between the cars in front of you and the charging time) to be able to charge the battery to travel perhaps 300 km, this could be the real brake for electric car sales.

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