The explosion in sales of SUVs, both internal combustion and electric, risks dooming the transition of the automotive sector. It is urgent to counter this trend, which is incompatible with our climate, health, economic and social objectives.
- SUVs account for nearly 50% of passenger car sales in France in 2022.
- SUVs emit an average of 20% more CO2 than a standard vehicle and are more expensive to buy and to run.
- Electric SUVs do not meet the requirements of the ecological transition.
The strategic choices of manufacturers, and in particular French manufacturers, have led to a rapid and worrying increase in the weight of vehicles sold in France and Europe. Over the last 20 years, the average weight of vehicles sold has risen from 950 kg in 1990 to 1230 kg in 2019. SUVs, the symbol of this evolution, represents nearly one vehicle out of two sold in France in 2022.
CO2 emissions from private vehicles are stagnating and still account for 15% of France’s total emissions. The expected benefits of accelerating the electrification of the car fleet are now cancelled out by the explosion in the sale of these vehicles, which emit on average 20% more CO2 than a standard vehicle.
Another consequence of this trend is that the cost of owning and using a car is exploding at the same time as the purchase price. Between 2010 and 2020, the average price of a new vehicle has risen from 20,000 to 27,000 EUR.
This is also true for electric SUVs. The carbon impact of an electric vehicle increases almost proportionally to its weight. Over its entire lifespan, an electric car driven in France has a carbon impact two to three times lower than that of a similar internal combustion model, provided that its battery is of reasonable capacity.
It is therefore urgent to counter this trend of increasing the weight of vehicles. Yet, the current NECP does not provide a sufficient target to reverse this dynamic.
The revised NECP must therefore set clear objectives for reducing the weight of the vehicle fleet and developing a sector of small electric vehicles that are accessible and produced in France. To achieve this, the NECP should provide measures that lower the weight-based malus on combustion vehicles from 1800 kg to 1300 kg, which currently concerns only 2.6% of vehicles sold.
Set a similar malus for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles at the 1800kg threshold.