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Date: September 15, 2023
Matias Audisio
By Matias Audisio
France
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Electra on Chinese EVs’ discouragement: “Protectionism comes at a price”

Electra believes that if subsidies are not applied to local EVs, the transition of the automotive fleet would be "slower," and charging networks would require more time to become profitable. Nonetheless, they assure that the growth of their charging network won't be halted.
Electra warns of a possible slowdown in the growth of the electric vehicle fleet.

In response to the French government’s decision to discourage the purchase of cars manufactured in China, Electra states, “Protectionism comes at a price!”

It is expected that this measure will put Chinese electric vehicles at a disadvantage in the domestic market.

For instance, models like the Dacia Spring could become more expensive to acquire, potentially leading to a significant drop in sales.

Speaking with Mobility Portal Europe, the Electra team, a company dedicated to charging infrastructure with over 580 points in its regional network, comments, “If these sales are replaced by sales of locally produced cars, the pace of electric vehicle sales will not be affected.”

However, they note that for this to happen, further subsidies for local models would be necessary as they are “slightly more expensive.”

Without such subsidies, the transition of the automotive fleet would be “slower,” and charging networks would require more time to become profitable.

Nevertheless, the company acknowledges that “in general, fast-charging networks designed, developed, and financed as long-term energy transition infrastructure, like Electra’s, will continue to be deployed in the coming years without slowing down.

It’s worth mentioning that during the summer, the company recorded 80,000 recharges in France.

The vehicle brands that most frequently used their stations during this period were Tesla (35%), Hyundai (9%), and MG (9%).

Specifically, for Tesla, the Model Y leads with 50%, followed by the Tesla Model 3 with 47%.

“This not only demonstrates the reliability and efficiency of our network but also a growing commitment from the public towards eco-friendly transportation solutions,” explains Aurélien de Meaux, President of Electra.

Market Insights: How to Increase EV Penetration?

Regarding the market outlook in France, the company views subsidy programs such as ADEME 2030 positively.

They also acknowledge the importance of “effective coordination” in Europe concerning standards (connector types, communication protocols, the latest AFIR regulations, payment methods, and transparency, etc.).

However, they believe that the primary challenge in the electric vehicle sector revolves around the adoption rate.

While Electra believes that this technology is generally “selling well,” they emphasize the need for car manufacturers to “keep innovating.”

The company states, “Manufacturers must offer vehicles with sufficient range (not exceeding 400-500 km), capable of rapid charging, and, above all, affordable, which is not entirely true yet, at least in the lower-end car segments.”

They see the ecological bonus policy, leasing advantage, and competitiveness as areas that require further attention and improvement.

Additionally, it will be crucial to avoid falling into an “excessive price war” (€/kWh for end-users) in the case of a very high network density.

Read more: Automotive Sector to von der Leyen: “Urgent” Call to Transform Industry with eMobility in Mind

Electra ‘s Projects and Plans: Expansion in Europe

Electra charging station.
Electra charging station.

The company was founded in 2021 by Aurélien de Meaux, Julien Belliato, and Augustin Derville.

Their 583 charging points are distributed across nearly 100 stations, featuring CCS and CHAdeMO (fast charging up to 300 kW) connectors, as well as type 2 (accelerated charging up to 22 kW).

Electra is expanding its fast-charging network in Europe, with a presence in France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Switzerland, and Austria.

The goal is to cover all major metropolitan areas and major transportation routes in these territories.

To achieve this, their ambition is to deploy 2,000 stations (approximately 10,000 charging points) in Europe by 2030.

“Many other innovations are coming to Electra in the coming months,” the company announces.

Additionally, starting this month, the company will expand to Spain and Germany.

The goal of Electra is to have 200 stations by the end of the year.

These stations will be located “where users need them”: urban centers, outskirts of major cities, and highways.

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