While it is becoming the norm, the electric car seems more decried than ever. A distant ideal at the turn of the century when Toyota presented the hybrid Prius, the electric car is today a reality for millions of people around the world.
But far from the ideal vision that we had of the “clean car” 10 years ago, the electric car is fueling endless debates as its popularity continues to grow. If Emmanuel Macron opened the Mondial de l’Auto in Paris by raising the ecological bonus (state aid for the purchase of an electric car) Carlos Tavares, boss of the giant Stellantis (Fiat-Chrysler-PSA alliance) closes the Parisian salon by criticizing the electric car.
The electric car suffers from “industrial patriotism”
For him, it is the very design of this car that needs to be reviewed. “It was not well thought out or well executed”, he explains to our colleagues from the Voix du Nord. While the world is fragmenting into three “bubbles”, Tavares advocates globalization.
In his speech, the big boss of Stellantis explains that these “bubbles” (North American, European and Chinese) will produce for themselves, with little possibility of export. For him, this idea could be expensive for the consumer. “For thirty years, the purchasing power of the European middle class was based on the fact that we imported manufactured products from low-cost countries. If at some point we say this strategy does not work because it deindustrializes Europe and we want to close to produce locally what must be consumed locally. »
This political will to re-industrialize Europe, Emmanuel Macron advocated it during the Mondial de l’Auto highlighting all the quality of French production. But for Carlos Tavares, things are more complicated. “We adapt, but we must not forget to go the complete loop to know all the consequences, starting with the price. »
Last May, the big boss of Stellantis assured, during a trip to India, that he wanted to develop the manufacture of electric cars in the country. This grid of the market must therefore not be to the liking of the CEO, who is keen to keep his group as international as possible.
“We don’t play in the same league as Renault”
Asked about the Franco-French competition with the Renault diamond brand, the boss of Stellantis simply brushed the question aside. “We don’t play in the same league”. If he recognizes that the mark has ” good ideas “, he also recalls that the profitability of Stellantis is 12 times that of Renault. The production of the Franco-Italian group brings a turnover four times greater.
In its defence, the Renault group has dominated the ranking of electric car sales in France for a few months with its new Mégane e-Tech, which was one of the finalists for the title of “car of the year” finally won by Kia with the Evo 7.
Increasing Chinese competition
Asian competition very present in Europe which worries Tavares. The CEO of Stellantis assures him, the merger with Fiat-Chrysler serves above all to prevent this new competition. Japanese and Korean companies have been present on the market for years, but also Chinese manufacturers who, thanks to large state investments, are beginning to invade the electric car market.
At the Paris Motor Show, nearly one out of three stands was reserved by a young Chinese company that came to present its brand new electric car.