Can the current energy crisis end the electric car?

La crise énergétique actuelle peut-elle tuer la voiture électrique ?

€1,000 per MWh. This is the incredible record reached three days ago on the wholesale electricity market in France. A year ago, this MWh was priced at €85, which represents a spectacular rise of 1000%. After months of dizzying increases in the price of a barrel of oil, Europe and its partners are thus facing an even more serious energy crisis that is causing panic among governments. In the UK, where regulated electricity prices have already increased by 80% for the country’s households, strikes and demonstrations are on the rise across the country. In France, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne is preparing emergency measures to limit the damage as much as possible. A new device to replace the current tariff shield, financed with 20,000 million euros, should arrive at the end of the year to regulate gas and electricity prices.

“We owe this unprecedented increase in the price of electricity to the particularity of our current European system”explains Nicolas Meilhan, Senior Advisor at EV-Volumes.com and an energy expert. “The wholesale price of electricity is not defined by the average cost of our production plants, but by that of the last plant in the network. However, this last plant in the network is a gas-fired plant. And since the price of gas has recently multiplied by 20 (to €320 per MWh), things are skyrocketing”.

So what immediate consequences for the French? “Fortunately in France, the regulated costs of electricity, the EDF blue tariff currently set at less than 15 euro cents per kWh in off-peak hours, protects the consumer although it could soon be reassessed upwards in contained proportions. Those who had opted to go through unregulated private providers are already receiving bills at 40 cents per kWh instead. I also advise everyone to quickly return to regulated electricity to avoid these types of surprises.”Nicholas Meilhan explains.

What impact on the electric car?

In recent years, the low cost of using electric cars has naturally been one of the biggest advantages of this technology. Despite a generally higher purchase price than a similar thermal vehicle, the low price of a full electric battery gets you sailing after a few years of use. A few months ago, in the midst of the Ukrainian crisis, when a barrel of oil flirted with 130 dollars and a liter of gasoline cost more than €2, driving an electric car even seemed like the ideal solution. And now ? “Without protection measures, the electricity bill to recharge your car batteries would be multiplied by 4 or 5. Therefore, it is impossible to keep this technology attractive in the eyes of the customer. Even more assuming that this increase in the price of electricity also influences its construction cost. In short, everything will depend on the intensity of the protection measures that govern the price of our electricity in France. But sooner or later we will pay the real price in taxes.”

The prospect of refueling at home, whose cost would be multiplied by 4, would undoubtedly have something to discourage the average customer. And let’s not talk about the rise in price of fast charging on networks like Ionity’s: “I imagine that these networks will be subsidized so as not to find prices that are too dissuasive”Nicolas Meilhan thinks.

And how long will this unprecedented crisis last? “The current crisis is worse than the oil shocks because they affect both oil and electricity and gas. But we have no alternative to this last energy currently in Europe. Gas allows our entire industry to function. Without Russian gas, we have no other solution. That is why I believe that we have no choice but to negotiate with Russia again to unblock the situation. This is about safeguarding our industries and our entire economy. Anyway, with such energy prices, we will mechanically end up destroying demand. »

So, did you think that we would never see anything worse than a full tank of unleaded petrol at €2 a litre?

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