Super price boosts sales of cheap electric cars
The liter of fuel, worth more than two euros, is a godsend for the sale of electric cars, including and perhaps especially those with little autonomy. The 28% increase in “Watt” registrations observed on the French market since the beginning of 2022 seems to be largely due to the fact that these vehicles have a relatively modest capacity battery and therefore a limited range.
The most obvious example is the Fiat 500e, which in one year managed to represent more than 80% of all sales of this small city car, whose penetration has reached an unprecedented level in fifteen years. A performance that owes much to the introduction of a version with a 23.8 kilowatt hour (kWh) battery, which in principle offers 190 km of autonomy versus 320 km for the one with a 42 kWh capacity. This model now weighs 40% of the registrations of the small Italian city runabout.
“The first few months were a bit difficult, but from March, when the price of fuel reached the threshold of 2 euros per liter, orders literally exploded,” assures Philippe Vautier, General Manager of Fiat France. Due to the lower weight, it is a little more comfortable and lively, and this version (invoice from around 19,000 euros, eco-bonus deducted) is mainly almost 4,000 euros cheaper to buy. Batteries alone account for more than a third of the value of an electric vehicle.
More broadly, there is strong growth in relatively low-cost models aimed primarily at urban use, which now account for around 30% of the electric segment. The Dacia Spring (theoretically a range of 230 km) sold more than 15,000 units across Europe in one year and ranks second in electric car sales on the French market, behind the Peugeot e-208 and ahead of the Renault Twingo.
Less range anxiety
Also, looking at mid-size vehicles, we find that the proportion of the least equipped versions outperforms in kWh. The Nissan Leaf at ” small battery » (40 kWh) accounts for almost three quarters of sales compared to the “large battery” introduced in 2019. Ditto for Hyundai, where the registration share of the Kona equipped with a 39 kWh battery has increased from 10% to 50% despite the presence of a version equipped with a 64 kWh battery.
These models are lighter and have reduced consumption (during normal driving, the Fiat 500e is content with just over 13 kWh per 100 km in urban traffic). You recharge in a few hours at an ordinary terminal for a much lower price (just over 5 euros) than what it takes to fill up with petrol for a city model with an internal combustion engine. On the other hand, family vehicles intended to be used as the main household car, regardless of the brand, remain widespread mainly in their configuration that guarantees the greatest radius of action, generally around 400 km. The gradual price increases of the best-selling Tesla Model 3 in recent months are having an impact on sales in France.
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