Futuribles Journal n° 351

Recherche, sciences, techniques

What Future for the Electric Car?


The "conventional" car industry is in crisis. This is not a recent phenomenon, but the current economic crisis has taken it to new levels. We may add to this the bad press that fossil fuels are receiving in a context where oil is becoming scarcer and greenhouse gas emissions are being combated. Does this offer brighter prospects for the development of electric cars, which are far from new as a concept, but have not so far succeeded in achieving commercial take-off?
Noting the recent increase in the number of new electric models, Pierre Bonnaure has turned his attention to this question. In this article he outlines the current state of this sector: the excitement around the concept and the technological options and limitations? He stresses, above all, that the market for all-electric vehicles should be confined to small urban models, and only then if the performance and lifespan of the new batteries turn out to match the claims made for them, if the authorities support the initiative, and if recharge electricity is not subject to tax. In such a context, the situation seems more conducive to the development of hybrid vehicles, whose features are also described here.
Lastly, above and beyond the technical aspects, Pierre Bonnaure reminds us how the electric vehicles market is dependent on much wider developments (industrial production of batteries and recycling, establishment of a network of recharge/repair stations, development of the electrical grid to meet the additional demand for power etc.) - dependent, in short, on a systemic revolution that is far from having begun.

Mots clefs :Automobiles

Be careful, articles in full text are available in French only.

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