Is everyone in plug-in hybrids tomorrow?

It’s done, or almost. The European Commission has approved a ban on heat engines in 2035, and all that remains to be done is to approve it by the deputies of the 27 countries of the Union for the application of the text. Which should be rolled up before the end of the year. Even Germany, the main manufacturing country of the old continent, is ready to switch completely to electric vehicles.

Thus, the various manufacturers have 13 years ahead of them to adapt, which they have already pretty much begun to do. Therefore, in the best of clean worlds, everything is for the best: modern gasoline engines will die a peaceful death, brands no longer need to develop new ones, and they can focus on electricity.

The standard that turns everything upside down

But this is without taking into account the Euro 7 standard. It should enter into force in 2025 (or in 2028, the date has not yet been fixed) and this summer should be voted in Brussels. The text provides for a halving of the maximum emissions allowed for vehicle approval. Thus, NOx emissions are now a maximum of 60 mg/km for petrol units and 80 for diesel units. This new standard was originally conceived as a sign of goodwill on the part of the Union, which generously did not want to immediately ban thermal energy and allow manufacturers to gradually switch to electricity.

Mercedes Classe See you soon for scrapping?

Except that, as is often the case, a good idea turns out to be a false good idea and even a nightmare, according to industrialists in the sector. Because it forces them to adapt their current engines or just scrap them. Suddenly, they were faced with a double investment: one they had already committed to going all-electric, and one that would allow them to drive the intermediate stage until the engine shuts down. explosive. A period of 7 years of “clean” heat, after which these investments will be lost, since these new engines will be unsellable.

Some manufacturers are already gearing up for that deadline, throwing in the towel, starting with Mercedes, which could just stop production of its “small” A class, just like BMW and its 1 Series. What the industry is doing: It is impossible to meet these future standards without using rechargeable hybrid systems. And we know the additional cost of such a crew. Fearing that their compacts will no longer be sold, which could cost their thermal C-Class or 3 Series sedans today, the two premium brands may simply forgo them in the future.

Plug-in hybrid Seat Leon, expensive compact.
Plug-in hybrid Seat Leon, expensive compact.

But if the two Germans can focus on bigger, more expensive cars precisely because of their premium positioning, what about station wagons? The plug-in hybrid Peugeot 308 today costs from 36,800 euros. Expensive for a compact. The Captur, also equipped with a twin engine, costs 36,950 euros, which is not cheap for a Renault city SUV. Seat Leon size close to 308, exhibited for 34,950 euros. For comparison, the same car, fully heat-treated, costs from 22,400 euros. As for the universal city cars, which may soon see the light of day in this form, we do not dare to present the proposed prices.

Are cars 60% more expensive?

Of course, manufacturers will be able to offer cars of any scale in this way. 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 pushes them towards 100% electricity supply by 2025 (or 2028). Unless the latter are cheaper than plug-in hybrids. The market for old used cars has a bright future.