In the automotive industry, the zealous of the electric show themselves without make-up

Fiat is the latest to join a list that is starting to gain consistency. Friday, June 4, the Italian firm of the Stellantis group joined the manufacturers – Jaguar, Smart, Volvo, Mini, Alpine, Ford Europe – who have undertaken to offer only electric models from 2030. All the the automobile industry has understood that the heat engine is ultimately doomed, but opinions differ on the timing. For these new converts to electricity, the cause is understood: we must anticipate the movement rather than accompany it.

“If we consider the development cycle of a model, 2030 is a not so distant deadline, and such a commitment, more or less sincere and voluntary, represents a real bet”, observes Laurent Petizon, Managing Director for France of the consulting firm AlixPartners, an international expert in the automotive sector. For the most zealous brands, this is not a pure leap of faith. “These builders, he emphasizes, have little choice but to go in this direction, given their size, their positioning and the evolution of regulations ”. Jaguar and Alpine, in search of reconquest, have nothing more to hope for on the thermal side, while Fiat, Smart and Mini will have to adapt to the future rules of urban mobility. Volvo (subsidiary of Chinese Geely) and Ford Europe are complying with the global strategy of their parent company.

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There is no consensus on this voluntarism. At the last G7 meeting, which ended on June 13, the seven richest countries pledged to reduce CO emissions by 50%2 within nine years compared to 2010 and to hasten the ban on gasoline or diesel vehicles but have given up, as some envisaged, to bring forward the deadline of 2030. The big brands are not the most eager. Pioneer of the electric, Renault sticks to a proportion of 30% of carbon-free vehicles in 2025 for Europe, Volkswagen expects 70% of electric models in 2030, while General Motors does not envisage a total conversion before 2035 and Mercedes before 2039. According to most manufacturers, opting for all-electric from 2030 is to launch into a headlong flight with an uncertain outcome. Admittedly, the American economic information company IHS Markit, which has just revised its forecasts upwards, estimates that in 2030 one in four vehicles produced will be without a thermal engine. Ultimately, however, this vigorous growth would only open up a minority part of the market to carbon-free cars.

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