ADEME has published an opinion on the electrification of the French car fleet

As the massive electrification of the private car market begins, many parameters must be considered for it to be successful. In fact, betting on the electrification of the park is not enough to meet the challenges of tomorrow. It is still necessary that this deployment be beneficial to the climate, to the environment, that the vehicles are financially accessible and that this transition is part of a more global ecosystem of mobility transition. ADEME has only published an opinion on these topics.

The massive deployment of electric vehicles for individuals is considered by European public policies as an important step if we want to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Mobility Orientation Law also provides for a ban on the sale of thermal vehicles “use of carbon fossil fuels” for 2035.

Electric mobility: what impact does carbon have?

According to ADEME, “Over its lifetime, an electric car driving in France has a carbon impact that is 2 to 3 times lower than a similar thermal model, provided that its battery has a reasonable capacity. »

“Reasonable capacity”: nuance is important. In fact, even if an electric vehicle does not emit carbon during use, the manufacture of batteries emits a lot, so that the electric vehicle begins its life with a carbon debt greater than a thermal vehicle. The carbon effect of the battery, which is not negligible, is directly related to its capacity.

So, if the autonomy of electric vehicles is often determined, increasing the “size”¹ of the battery is not a good solution, because it inevitably leads to an increase in the weight of the vehicle, its impact on carbon and so is his price.

In its October opinion, ADEME compared the evolution of cumulative carbon emissions, in relation to the mileage of different types of vehicles.

If it only takes less than 20,000 km for a city car with a 22 kWh battery (example: Twingo E-Tech Electric) to be “profitable” from a CO point of view2compared to a diesel compact sedan, this distance increases in proportion to the battery capacity.

Up to 100,000 km, a compact SUV-type electric vehicle equipped with a 100 kWh battery therefore has a higher cumulative carbon emission than a compact diesel sedan! This still represents 8 years of use for an average motorist.

Finally, for a compact EV with a 60 kWh battery, this distance is about 62,000 km.

Therefore from the point of view of CO emissions2therefore it is better to favor light vehicles, whose battery remains of a reasonable size.

Recycling and securing supplies

ADEME also identifies key issues for the next decade: recycling batteries and securing supplies of cobalt, lithium, nickel and graphite.

In fact, the ADEME TRANSITION(S) 2050 scenarios provide an increase in “+300% to +800% lithium needs compared to 2020 for light mobility”.

In this context, we better understand the strategic importance of lithium exploitation projects, especially in Echassières in Allier. Therefore, the Imerys group should start production in 2028, which will provide 700,000 vehicles per year with Li-ion batteries.

It is important to check our mobility equipment

Going electric is not just a “fuel change”. It also means rethinking our use of mobility.

For example, if it is technically possible to recharge the battery in 2 minutes like a full tank of gasoline, it is neither desirable nor realistic, because it would require the mobilization of 1.8 MW of electricity, that is, the power that asking for 1,500 fireplaces!

ADEME also emphasized that it is important to choose the right time for recharging, to relieve the electricity network, especially in urban and peri-urban areas. Even that “The deployment of terminals related to photovoltaic production (shade for example) is a preferred solution to reduce the impact of the network, the cost of recharging in the long term, limit the artificialization of land related to the development of renewable energies and give of meaning their development. »

Finally, with regard to long distances, the current offer does not make it possible to respond satisfactorily to this need. If the plug-in hybrid could possibly be a relevant solution, under certain conditions, ADEME recommends other solutions for long-distance journeys, such as increasing the use of train and developing adapted service in tourist areas.

The ADEME opinion includes a lot of other information and recommendations, particularly about charging stations or the economic aspect. We invite you to read the full report to learn more.

¹ Or rather, increase its storage capacity

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