France into the breach for PHEVs
France will continue to support plug-in hybrid cars despite the possible EU ban on cars with an internal combustion engine (ICE). It pleads for an exception for PHEVs when new ICE vehicles sales will be forbidden.
Tomorrow the European Commission will present its plan “Fit for 55” to realize the 55% decrease in CO2 emissions planned for 2030. Several propositions have already leaked, one of them being a total ICE ban as of 2035.
The big announcement is for tomorrow, the 14th of July, but several measures proposed by the EU Commission have already become public.
First of all, the Commission wants to expand its ‘Emission Trading System’ (ETS) to more sectors, possibly in a “separate but adjacent” market system that could merge with the already installed ETs in a few years.
The EU is also foreseeing kerosine taxing in aviation inside the EU. A third objective is energy consumption: the total EU consumption will have to lower by 36-37% by 2030. So-called natural ‘carbon sinks’ (forests, prairies, …) will have to absorb 310 million tons of CO2 by 2030. Finally, a social funding system has to keep an eye on the impact of the rules on lower incomes.
On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron met the French car industry. Everybody is convinced that changes are duly needed, but there are differences in the speed of accomplishment.
To France, the 55% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2030 is the maximum possible, while the EU tends to go even further. However, this is not realistic for the French President if he wants to save its 200 000 jobs directly related to the auto industry.
The French car sector, represented by the car platform PFA, estimates that € 17 billion will be needed in the coming years to invest in the key technologies of the 21st-century automobile. Implicated are battery production, charging infrastructure, hydrogen development, and electronic innovation.
“We risk having such a decline that France stops to be a leading nation in the car industry,” says Luc Chatel, PFA president. Some 100 000 jobs could be endangered by 2035, says a report from the Metallurgic Observatory.
The unions point out that the energy transition can as well be a disaster or an opportunity. “A gigantic effort has to be realized in the formation of new skills so that every worker has opportunities in the labor market of the future.
Hybrid, yes or no
Meanwhile, many manufacturers have already taken the flight ahead and announced their goodbye to the ICE engine by 2025 or around 2030. Slowly but gaining speed, the market is following. In the first quarter of the year, almost one-third of the cars sold were electrified.
But at the moment, the majority of them are still PHEVs. The two big French manufacturers and foreign ones based in France like Toyota still are fervent believers of the hybrid case certainly, as a transition means.
They are not alone in their quest. While manufacturers like the VW Group have totally changed course and go for pure electric at full speed, other German manufacturers are pleading for more realism. BMW, for example, recently announced that it wouldn’t let go of its ICE engines so soon.
Both BMW and Daimler are selling lots of PHEVs lately, noticing that not all their clients are already prone to go for full electric. So, they, too, plead for a longer transition period.
Apparently, that’s what the French President Macron is going to plead for at the EU Commission. A ban on ‘pure’ ICE cars for 2035 but an extension of the ‘transit period’ for PHEVs up to 2040.
Green parties often criticize PHEVs as being even more inefficient than their genuine ICE counterparts because of their higher weight (battery!) and improper use.
The latter shouldn’t be a problem. Onboard diagnostics (OBD) in all modern cars know perfectly if and for how long a PHEV has been used electrically. Incentives or fines can be applied accordingly, if necessary.