Rushing to mandate EV-only car sales too soon could have far-reaching financial, ecological and societal implications, said Renault Group boss Luca de Meo.
Responding to the European Commission’s desire to ban the sale of all new cars powered by fossil fuels by 2035, de Meo told the Financial Times’ Future of the Car summit: “The first thing I want to say is that Renault is obviously very committed to EVs. We started very early here, and we continue to believe that EV and maybe hydrogen can be a good solution for some applications.
“But if you look at the data, it is apparent that combustion-engine sales - including hybrids - have yet to reach their peak. There are challenges, across societal, financial and ecological perspectives that should be considered.
“These are divided down to the batteries, which are good for 85% of typical usage but not for those two or three longer journeys a year. That puts people off buying the cars. Then there is the lifetime CO2 - the cradle-to-grave figure - for a car, the answer to which is not so obvious. Some alternative fuels, or hybrids, can be cleaner than EVs on these measurements.
“And then there is the financial accessibility of EVs. We see price parity around 2025, but now that might have moved because of raw material inflation.”
De Meo highlighted that imposing stringent mandates risked damaging the environment, as it would cut off investment in ensuring current combustion engine and fuel technology was as clean as possible.
“We have to ensure an unbiased real-life approach to this technology,” he said.
“As an example, this year we will be launching a new hybrid engine, and its efficiency is the best in the world - already better than diesel, and showing that the potential for engines remains. We will invest in future technology, of course, but we should consider too the impact of cutting off investment in what we are developing today.”