Is it the forgotten one of the ecological transition? The electric “retrofit”, which consists in replacing a heat engine by an electric battery on an old vehicle, seems less of a priority for the public authorities than the direct sale of zero emission vehicles, which could jeopardize a nascent sector and even more. brittle. In summary, this is the feeling of the Aire association (Actors in the electric retrofit industry), which represents around fifteen start-ups, SMEs or independent garages that have decided to embark on this adventure.
Aire denounces in particular the lack of support in the bill to fight against global warming (inspired by the work of the citizens’ climate convention), which is currently being finalized. The senators had indeed added a reference to article 25, fixing “As a goal of reaching one million converted thermal engine vehicles by 2030”, but this provision has just been withdrawn from the text by the joint committee, at the request of the government.
“This lack of ambition is incomprehensible, plague Arnaud Pigounides, co-president of Aire and boss of Retrofuture, one of the start-ups in this embryonic sector. However, you have the best of all possible worlds: the transition of part of the polluting fleet to zero emissions, at a lower cost compared to the purchase of an electric vehicle, a virtuous form of circular economy in terms of global ecological impact and localized employment in France. “
Question of the robustness of the economic model
The industry applauded the legalization of the electric retrofit by a decree, in March 2020, allowing the approval of transformed vehicles. The creation of low emission zones in French metropolises also appeared to be able to stimulate the market. But the implementation was more difficult than expected for young companies with limited resources.
A study by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe) dated March 2021 and devoted to the transformation into an electric vehicle highlights the question of the robustness of the economic model. The Ademe indicates in particular the cost levels for the actors: up to 1 million euros for the development of the conversion kit and up to 100,000 euros for the homologation of the vehicle. To date, according to Aire, only a “retrofitted” 2CV developed by the Mehari Club de Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) has been approved.
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