The French want an electric car with great autonomy: why it is a mistake

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According to a recent study, 80% of French people would be willing to buy an electric car if its range exceeded 400 kilometres. However, this is fallacious reasoning for several reasons. We explain why autonomy is not the most important criterion for an electric car.

Mercedes EQS Brabus
Mercedes EQS Brabus

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Electric cars are selling better and better in France, that’s a fact. So much so that they even surpassed diesel last December, with sales dominated by the Dacia Spring and the Tesla Model 3. Cars, this point continues to be an obstacle for many motorists. And despite the years, it really doesn’t seem to be getting any better.

a wrong belief

Indeed, and as revealed by a study conducted by the firm Deloitteonly 8% of the French would be willing to buy an electric car, compared to 14% of the rechargeable hybrid. A figure that is still very low, which is explained by two things: the price as well as the autonomy. In fact, for 68% of those surveyed, a car should not exceed 30,000 euros, including the ecological bonus.

But autonomy also continues to pose a real problem for many. In fact, 79% of respondents want Your electric car can travel more than 400 kilometers in one charge. 37% even want a range of more than 600 kilometers. A figure that only top-of-the-range models reach, such as the Mercedes EQS with 783 km or the Lucid Air, with 883 km on the WLTP mixed cycle.

However, the rise of cheaper, more energy-dense, robust batteries could allow more affordable models to achieve these figures in the future.

However, wanting great autonomy at all costs is actually a mistake, and this for many reasons. First of all, you should know that, on average, the French travel only 50 kilometers a day, mainly to get to and from their workplace. Thus, the problem of autonomy would only arise for very long trips, which are generally only made a few times a year. And in this case, it is possible to take the train or the plane, or Take advantage of the fast charging infrastructure with your electric car.

Although the goal of 100,000 accessible terminals by the end of 2021 has not yet been reached, the network has evolved considerably. In fact, there were 82,107 accessible charging points on December 31, according to Avere France. A constantly changing figure, while only 53,667 terminals were installed at the end of 2021. And, to tell the truth, fast charging is much more important than the range of an electric car.

The importance of power charging

In fact, we have already demonstrated this idea during a virtual test against three vehicles offering 400 kilometers of autonomy, namely the Tesla Model 3, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and the Renault Zoé on an 800-kilometre Paris-Marseille journey. And then we could see that it is not so much the size of the battery that matters, but the consumption, as well as charging power. The higher it is, the faster the charge and the shorter the trip.

This is also regularly demonstrated by youtuber Bjørn Nyland, who compares the time it takes various electric cars on the market to complete a 1,000 kilometer journey. For now, the Nio ES8 sits at the top of the ranking, with just 9 hours. An impressive figure that is not due to its autonomy, announced at 500 kilometers according to the WLTP cycle, but to its rapid recharging, thanks to its battery change system that allows it to refuel in just five minutes.

Nio ES8 // Source: Nio

Thus, and as operators develop faster terminals and manufacturers offer batteries that can handle all this power, the charging time will be reduced considerably.

This will be particularly the case with CATL’s Qilin CTP 3.0 battery, which can go from 10 to 80% in 10 minutes. This means that for a real autonomy of about 300 kilometers on the highway, a single a ten minute stop will be required every two hours to recover 70% of the capacity. Let’s not forget that, in any case, it is recommended to take a break in this very interval for your safety.

CATL is also planning a battery capable of going from 10 percent to 80 percent in five minutes in the next few years. For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 requires about 30 minutes of exercise, compared to 18 minutes for the fastest, like the Kia EV6 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 thanks to their 800-volt architecture.

The disadvantages of a large battery

What’s more, who says great autonomy at the moment says great battery. However, these are becoming less popular with manufacturers due to the rising cost of lithium, mostly in the composition of batteries. Especially since specialists even fear a shortage in the next few years, even if this fear remains to be qualified anyway.

Also, a large battery weighs more, which has the effect of increasing consumption. And therefore to reduce autonomy. Therefore, the trend is towards the adoption of smaller packages, as in Ford and Renault, and the development of faster and more terminals.

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