The fight against climate change is taking a new turn in France with the introduction of an environmental score for electric cars. As part of an ambitious initiative to promote local production and reduce the carbon footprint of the automotive industry, the French government recently published a decree proposing changes to the eligibility conditions for the ecological bonus. But behind this step towards a greener industry, the complexity of the formula and the potential flaws in the system raise questions and debates.
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The French government has taken an important step in its new strategy in the automotive industry. In effect, a new environmental score will be calculated as part of the ecological bonus for electric cars. The government has posted the proposed decree which modifies the conditions of eligibility for the ecological bonus.
By publishing the documentation of the model allowing to calculate the quantity of CO2 generated by the manufacture of a vehicle, the government proposes a complex formula.
A score of 60 out of 100 qualifies buyers for this bonus. But, is it as simple as it seems?
A gas plant
The complexity of the environmental score formula turns out to be a real gas factory. The factors taken into account are very numerous and sometimes surprisingwhich makes the analysis more complicated and can leave room for varied interpretations.
Nevertheless, there seem to be oversights. One might have expected the score to take into account things like Cx (coefficient of drag), which is vital in assessing a vehicle’s efficiency.
There are also numerous waivers, which play a key role in the assessment of the environmental score. They cover various aspects such as the production of steel, aluminum, other materials, the battery, and intermediate transformation processes and assembly of the vehicle. These derogations can potentially open the way to loopholes and manipulations.
Despite the complexity of the formula, there is a lack of subtlety in the analysis. For example, scores for raw materials depend on huge regions and are not necessarily assigned to any particular factory. This can make assessment more complex and requires a more nuanced understanding of supply chains and industrial processes.
Despite its apparent flaws, this reform remains a step forward
By taking into account the carbon footprint, the government will favor vehicles manufactured in Europe. But this reform also aims to create a more virtuous economic model for the planet, by penalizing highly polluting maritime transport, for example.
The global approach, which looks at the entire production cycle, from the extraction of raw materials to the delivery of the vehicle, is commendable. It aims to favor the most carbon-free factories, thus encouraging an ecological transformation of the automotive industry.
The introduction of the environmental score by the French government is therefore at double facet. On the one hand, it is presented as a step towards a greener economy, by encouraging local production and penalizing highly polluting maritime transport. On the other hand, it could also be seen as a geopolitical tool.
Indeed, it is also a protectionist measure to support the European automotive industry. The implementation of this score may therefore also have repercussions on trade relations with other countries, such as China and the United States.
Contribute to reducing the ecological impact of the automotive industry
Nevertheless, if applied well, it could actually contribute to a reduction of the ecological impact of the automotive industry. However, the success of this approach will depend on fairness and transparency in the application of the formula. This is going to require careful monitoring and evaluation to make sure it works as intended.
In the meantime, do you want to know if the Dacia Spring or the Tesla Model 3 or even the MG4, produced in China, will lose their ecological bonus? For the moment, impossible to certify it.
As a reminder, this reform will not be applied until January 1, 2023. And there will be a lot of debate in the meantime. This allows time for in-depth discussions and for possibly making adjustments to the regulation or policy in question. Affected parties will have the opportunity to weigh the pros and cons and ensure that the application is as fair and efficient as possible.
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