Ademe: ‘electric retrofit ideal for buses and city cars’
According to a French Agency for Ecological Transition (Ademe) study, the model of retrofitting a vehicle with an electric powertrain, or ‘retrofit‘ in short, is ideal for buses. It would imply a CO2 reduction of 87% compared to diesel and 37% compared to purchasing a new EV bus.
For cars, converting a city car to electricity would reduce CO2 emissions by 66% from diesel and 47% compared to a new EV. Professionals of the sector ask for national and local help to grow this business.
Since March last year, France authorizes retrofit, which takes older, diesel, or gasoline-powered vehicles and adapts them to electric powertrains. French Ademe has analyzed this rather recent trend and stresses the relevance of this process as the environmental balance over ten years is systematically better than that of a diesel car or scrapping it for the purchase of a new EV.
-87% CO2 from buses
In its recent study, Ademe has calculated the impact of an EV conversion. While the production of the electric motor and the batteries produces CO2, the vehicle already exists. Thus converting a diesel or gasoline car to electricity emits less CO2 than purchasing a new EV.
According to the study, the biggest impact of retrofit would be on buses. Retrofitting a bus with an electric powertrain would reduce its CO2 emissions by 87%, and the whole thing would still produce 37% less than a newly produced EV bus. For city cars, the difference is less important.
A retrofitted diesel city car would emit 66% less CO2 than before and 47% less than a new electric one. Nevertheless, retrofitting a city car costs nearly as much as the purchase of a new electric car. Buses, on the other hand, fare much better on the second-hand market. A new EV bus would cost 50% more than a used diesel one retrofitted.
Still looking for business model
Ademe adds that the retrofit sector appears to be short-lived. According to the agency, the sector depends on the production of gasoline and diesel cars, and the objective to ban fossil fuel vehicles by 2040 could put a fork in the retrofit sector’s progress. This is why the agency stresses the economic relevance of retrofitting buses.
The French retrofit sector’s association, AIRe (Acteur de l’Industrie du Rétrofit électrique), rejoices of the Ademe’s study’s results. They also hope its will open the eyes of the public authorities on their sector’s worthiness and push for national and local aids.
Federal back-up needed
AIRe asks for massive state help, cheaper homologation procedures, and lower VAT. “We need to move away from this artisanal dimension and bring retrofit into an industrial dimension with ambitious public planning to provide the necessary funds,” declares Guillaume Crunelle, partner at Deloitte and automotive industry specialist, to French newspaper La Tribune.