why France will have a hard time catching up

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The economist Flavien Neuvy was the guest of franceinfo on Sunday October 16. The opportunity to come back to the new measures in favor of electric cars announced by Emmanuel Macron a little earlier in the day – while drawing up an inventory of the “living forces” available in the country.

And the observation is that the ambition of the executive for a 100% French electric automobile sector is still far from being achievable. Indeed, says the economist, “the Chinese are 15 years ahead of us”. While emphasizing that the objective outlined by the Head of State is really “an issue of industrial sovereignty and international competition”.

France will have to continue to rely on subsidies to achieve its objectives

The economist thinks that the main obstacle to achieving the French ambition is the price of this type of vehicle. Electric cars remain too expensive compared to petrol and diesel cars. Which makes Flavien Neuvy say that the ecological bonus (and its increase from next year) are essential for the sector.

The Elysée will also launch a car leasing offer at 100 euros per month for the most modest households. Another great incentive, but the economist warns: given the price of electric cars sold in France, the state should largely subsidize this device – which therefore risks being very targeted.

Finally, the “tariff shield” will be extended to electric charging stations to avoid soaring electricity prices. The automotive sector needs a real injection of capital through these kinds of devices designed to stimulate demand – but it remains to be seen whether this all-out aid will be sufficient.

Emmanuel Macron has indeed drawn up particularly ambitious energy transition objectives for the French automotive sector. The President of the Republic wants, among other things, that the production of French electric cars increases to 1 million units per year by 2027, double by 2030, before reaching 100% electric cars by 2035.

But to this is added another problem: that of consumer perception. Because for a few months the war in Ukraine has somewhat thwarted the commitments of the Paris agreements. Everywhere coal-fired power plants are restarting, and the fossil fuel sector is back at the center of the game.

However, in such a context, and while a large part of the nuclear power plants in France remain shut down for maintenance, it is difficult to understand how the country will be able to absorb an explosion of electric cars on the roads.

Fortunately, the extension of the energy shield to charging stations should relieve some of the concerns for French people ready to take the plunge.

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