Science

Automobile: the change to all electric creates a social risk, says Tavares – Sciences et Avenir

The prohibition, wanted by the European Commission, to sell gasoline and diesel cars from 2035, “creates a social risk”, estimates the general director of the manufacturer Stellantis Carlos Tavares, in an interview with four European newspapers published this Tuesday.

“Not looking at the entire life cycle of electric cars is obviously very restrictive,” the leader told French Les Echos, German Handelsblatt, Italian Corriere della Sera and Spanish El Mundo newspapers.

“With the European energy mix, an electric vehicle must travel 70,000 km to offset the poor carbon footprint of battery manufacturing and begin to widen the gap with a light hybrid vehicle,” he says.

“We also know that a mild hybrid vehicle costs half as much as an electric vehicle,” observes Mr. Tavares. “Nor should we lose sight of the fact that we risk (…) losing the middle classes who will no longer be able to buy a car and that there will be social consequences.”

“Therefore, it is too early to say whether the European approach is reasonable,” he says with a certain irony, advocating once again for the maintenance of hybrid vehicles.

“All in all, is it better to accept operating high-performance thermal hybrid cars so they remain affordable and provide an immediate carbon benefit, or do we need 100% electric vehicles that the middle classes will not be able to afford, while asking states to continue to expand the budget deficit to subsidize them? It is a social debate that I would dream of having, but at the moment I don’t see it.

“What is clear is that electrification is the technology chosen by politicians, not by industry,” he sums up.

For manufacturers, it is about “limiting the additional cost of electricity to 50% as much as possible, in five years”, with significant productivity gains.

“We will see in a few years the builders who will have survived and the rest”, predicts the head of Stellantis.

“Without a gradual transition, the social consequences will be greater,” he fears.

“But we are not alone,” he adds. “We have a whole ecosystem of subcontractors around us. They will have to move as fast as we do.”

“It is the brutality of the change that generates social risk,” underlines Carlos Tavares.

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