tomorrow, all in plug-in hybrids?

It’s done, or almost. The European Commission has validated the ban on thermal engines in 2035 and only the deputies from the 27 countries of the Union have to approve it so that the text can be applied. That should be folded before the end of the year. Even Germany, the main producing country of the old continent, is ready to switch to electricity.

So the different manufacturers have 13 years ahead of them to adapt, which they have already started to do in large part. Therefore, everything is for the best in the best of clean worlds: today’s oil engines will die a peaceful death, brands no longer need to develop new ones and can concentrate on electricity.

The standard that turns everything upside down

But that’s not counting the Euro 7 standard. It’s supposed to come into force in 2025 (or 2028 the date hasn’t been set yet) and should go to the polls in Brussels this summer. The text provides for a division by two of the maximum emissions allowed for the approval of cars. Thus, NOx emissions are now a maximum of 60 mg / km for petrol units and 80 for diesel units. This new rule is intended, at the outset, to show goodwill on the part of the Union, which has magnanimously refused to ban thermal energy once and for all, and to allow manufacturers to gradually switch to electricity.

The Mercedes Class See you soon for scrapping?

Except that, as is often the case, the good idea turns out to be a false good idea, and even a nightmare according to the industry. Because it forces them to adapt their current engines, or just send them to the scrap yard. Suddenly, they are faced with a double investment: the one they have already committed to switch to all-electric and the one that will allow them to manage the intermediate stage until the total ban on the engine. explosive. A period of 7 years of “clean” heat, beyond which these investments will be lost, as these new engines will be unsaleable.

Some manufacturers are already preparing for this deadline by throwing in the towel, starting with Mercedes which could simply stop the manufacture of its “small” Class A, as well as BMW and its Series 1. Because the two Germans have observed that the whole automotive industry is doing: it is impossible to meet these future standards without going through rechargeable hybrid systems. And we know the extra cost of this crew. For fear of stopping selling their compacts, which could cost the price of their Class C or 3 Series thermal sedans today, the two premium brands could simply give up producing them in the future.

Seat León plug-in hybrid, the beloved compact.
Seat León plug-in hybrid, the beloved compact.

But if the two Germans can focus on bigger and more expensive cars, precisely because of their premium positioning, what about the generalists? A plug-in hybrid Peugeot 308 comes out today at 36,800 euros. Expensive for a compact. A Captur also equipped with a twin engine, costs 36,950 euros, not cheap for a Renault urban SUV. A Seat Leon with a size close to 308, is presented at 34,950 euros. In comparison, the car itself, fully thermal, costs 22,400 euros. As for the versatile urban cars that could soon see the light of day in this form, we dare not imagine the prices on offer.

60% more expensive cars?

Of course, manufacturers will be able to offer cars of any range so motorized. Keep selling them. It remains to be seen whether consumers will be willing to pay 60% more than usual to afford a new car. Unless this Euro 7 standard rushes them from 2025 (or 2028) to the 100% electricity supply. Except that the latter are no cheaper than plug-in hybrids. The used car market has a bright future ahead.

Leave a Comment