Wouldn’t it already be “too late” to buy an electric car? Indeed, prices are only increasing, fast charging is becoming very expensive, and the availability of public charging infrastructure is struggling to take off. Let’s draw together the current portrait of electric mobility to try to see more clearly.
At a time when electric vehicles are increasingly entering our daily lives, can we already consider that the golden age of electric mobility is behind us? In fact, while the costs associated with fast charging are soaring, the time required to obtain a new electric car has never been so long, and charging stations do not seem to be available in sufficient numbers in the face of the growth in the number of electric vehicles, isn’t it already too late to consider the electric car as the best choice of the moment?
We are going to review the main developments of the last months and years in the world of the electric car, and check what it is possible to expect today by ordering a vehicle. We will end by comparing the situation of an electric vehicle to that of a thermal vehicle, in order to check whether it is still advantageous to drive electric.
A refill cost that flies away
If you missed it, fast-charging rates for electric vehicles have peaked in the first half of 2022, regardless of the network used. Considering an average consumption on the highway of 20 kWh per 100 kilometres, it becomes difficult to cover 100 kilometers for less than 15 euros. Compare to 12 euros for a diesel car consuming 6 liters per 100 kilometers on the highway.
Tesla, Fastned, Totalenergies or even Ionity all offer a price varying between 0.50 and 0.79 euro per kWh, which more or less corresponds to a price of between 10 and 16 euros for 100 kilometers of motorway. However, it is necessary to qualify since the owners of an electric car from the Ionity consortium (Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Porsche and Hyundai) can benefit from a subscription allowing to drastically reduce the bill, with a cost of around of 0.30 euro per kWh. If you are not a customer of these manufacturers, it is also possible to subscribe to the IONITY Passport subscription (at 17.99 euros per month) to benefit from a reduced rate of 0.35 euro per kWh.
It is therefore still possible to drive electric on the highway for less than a thermal carespecially with the recent surge in gasoline and diesel prices.
While long journeys by electric car can indeed sometimes be more expensive than the same journey by thermal vehicle, the cost must be placed in an overall context. Indeed, for the vast majority of people making only long journeys for holidays, and charging at home the rest of the time, the annual average cost per 100 kilometers will always be under 5 euros, or even under 3 euros in many cases, which remains exceptionally low.
However, we are noticing an overall increase in costs related to recharging, and more generally the end of free recharging in various forms. Indeed, at Tesla in particular, there was a long period when Supercharges were free (either with the purchase of a vehicle or thanks to sponsorships), but that is well and truly over. In the same way, manufacturers such as Porsche, Audi or BMW sometimes offered up to three years free at Ionity with the purchase of an electric vehicle, but this is no longer relevant today.
Finally, while for years it was quite easy to charge for free at public terminals, with supermarket car parks, or even in hotels where you spent the night, all of this is about to disappear in favor of terminals paying, now that their rate of use is increasing. All of these emerging costs should be kept in mind when budgeting for an electric car, and we should already anticipate their likely increase in the near future. Unfortunately, charging costs aren’t the only ones that have gone up.
Increasing deadlines and prices
The star of 2021 electric cars in France, the Tesla Model 3, has seen its price jump since the start of 2022, going from an entry-level available from 36,800 euros (taking into account the bonus ecological maximum of 7,000 euros at the start of 2021) to 48,990 euros at the time of this writing.
A 33% increase of the entry ticket in just over a year, this is anything but negligible. This example of the Tesla Model 3 is far from isolated, even if other manufacturers have not increased their prices in comparable proportions. Even the cheapest electric, the Dacia Spring, has not been spared by the price increase: it is now 14% more than at the start of the year that it will be necessary to pay to become an owner.
In addition to prices, we now find ourselves in a rather unprecedented situation in the world of electric vehicles, with delivery times soaring, to such an extent that some manufacturers are considering stopping accepting new orders, for fear not being able to honor the prices at which the vehicles were ordered.
The shortage of certain components associated with tensions on raw materials that we know on a global level have resulted in a very uncertain situation on the cost of manufacturing electric cars. If we take the example of a Tesla Model 3, ordering it in May 2022 will not allow you to be delivered before the second quarter of 2023, i.e. almost a year of waiting, proof of this is that the consequent increase in prices did not deter potential buyers. However, let’s qualify the dates announced by Tesla, since one of our acquaintances who ordered a Model 3 in April 2022 has already seen his delivery date changed several times in a row, oscillating between June and November 2022.
More and more electric vehicles are on our roads, and it is necessary to charge these vehicles on the go. While at one time charging stations were underutilized, this has changed a lot in 2022. Let’s take stock of another potential problem: the availability of charging stations.
Charging stations that are not in sufficient number
100% electric vehicles now represent more than 10% of new car sales in France, and the share of connected vehicles is even close to 20% in April 2022 according to the Avere barometer. With soon 900,000 electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicles on the road in France, what about the availability of charging stations?
During the month of April 2022, nearly 24,000 connected cars have been registered in France (100% electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles), and over the same period, 2,308 charging points open to the public have been added, which corresponds approximately to one charging point installed for every 10 registered cars.
The explosion in sales of 100% electric cars since 2020 has increased the number of electric vehicles per charging station from 9.66 in 2019 to 14.76 in 2022. Indeed, while in 2019 Avere indicated that there were 28,537 charging stations open to the public, and 275,565 electrified vehicles in France, in April 2022 the number of connected vehicles in circulation was multiplied by three, but the number of terminals only doubled.
Moreover, we notice that the gap widened drastically in 2020, when the number of connected vehicles in circulation rose by 70% in France, while the number of terminals only increased by 15%. In 2021 and 2022, however, the number of charging stations and the number of electrified vehicles have come closer together to follow the same curve.
With long journeys becoming more and more expensive, prices increasing, delays getting longer and a charging infrastructure that seems insufficient, are there still some good sides to the electric car in 2022? Of course !
An ever-present incentive to buy
Europe’s announced targets for 2035 are clear: no vehicle that is not zero emissions during its use phase can be sold. If the new thermal vehicle must be buried by then, the same applies to hybrid vehicles, whether rechargeable or not. Only 100% electric vehicles will be able to remain in the catalog, and to encourage consumers to move towards electric vehicles, there is no shortage of financial incentives.
The state’s ecological bonus is a well-known device, making it possible to lower the cost of acquiring an electric car by 6,000 euros in certain cases. It is possible to combine this ecological bonus with a regional or departmental bonus in certain cases, sometimes reaching 11,000 euros in aid. In addition to this, a scrapping bonus of several thousand euros is granted under conditions, when you part with an old thermal car.
All these aids are intended to accelerate the transition to the electric car, and to show thatit is possible to take the plunge while limiting expenses. Indeed, although electric vehicles are more expensive than their thermal equivalent in terms of purchase cost, the overall cost per kilometer is in the vast majority of cases much lower, especially if we compare such powerful thermal vehicles. , which will have a significant ecological penalty on purchase.
If the example of long journeys at the beginning of this file was there to remind us that certain uses will be expensive, at the current price per kilowatt hour (0.17 euro), by charging an electric vehicle at home, the cost per 100 kilometers will be under 3.5 euros, which corresponds to less than two liters of fuel.
Thus, those for whom the current portrait of an electric vehicle in France would not be attractive enough should not forget what the thermal alternative available today is. Although cheaper to buy, the overall balance of a thermal car is even more negative on all counts : the maintenance costs, the cost of use or even the environmental impact are always much higher than those of an electric car.
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