4 mins

All-electric mobility: point of view of Florent Laroche

All-electric mobility: point of view of Florent Laroche
#competitivity #futureofmobility #democratization #EV

In the automotive market, the shift to electric power is gaining traction, driven by societal and political impetus focused on ecological objectives. The resulting initiatives are being implemented on an international scale, and nowhere more so than in Europe, which has stated its ambition to discontinue sales of combustion engine vehicles by 2035. As a result, the entire French automotive industry is mobilizing in response to this paradigm shift, and OPmobility is working closely alongside its customers to support them in their efforts.

Will the advent of all-electric mobility actually happen?

Electric cars will help road transportation to compete more effectively against other modes of transport.
Dr. Florent Laroche, Associate Lecturer in Economics at French University, “Lumière Lyon 2” and Transport Economist

What are the main issues and challenges facing next-generation mobility and electric mobility?

F. Laroche: Given the challenges related to the rise of fuel prices, electric vehicles have the advantage of costing between three and four times less to run than a combustion engine automobile. In the economics of transportation, there are two fundamental concepts: time and money. Which is why, despite the development of public transit options, the automobile remains dominant. It saves time, makes everyday life easier and is more comfortable. But the main challenge to democratizing the use of electric vehicles is making them affordable to potential users.

How will the increasing take-up of electric cars change the way we use this form of transportation?

F. Laroche: Electric vehicles are becoming increasingly high-tech, with self-driving and driver assistance systems, and integrated interfaces and apps similar to those of smartphones. So the way they’re being used is already changing. The main risk is that these cars will quickly become obsolete, and drivers will hesitate to invest in them if they think that the model they buy will be out of date within two, three or five years.

Will focusing on electric vehicles meet the challenges of mobility and the energy transition, then?

F. Laroche: What I’m seeing is a trend towards “all-electric,” but that’s not the whole story. Ten years ago, gas stations sold mainly diesel and unleaded gasoline. Today, there’s a huge diversity of energy sources: electricity, ethanol, LPG, natural gas, and so on. So there’s no shortage of options. Drivers buy vehicles on the basis of how they want to use them, how much they can afford, and ultimately the type of energy they will consume. For automakers, the choice may be to focus solely on electric vehicles, or to move towards different powertrains. The all-electric solution in isolation is unrealistic; but electric mobility is definitely part of an overarching low-carbon solution.

To what extent does the transition to sustainable mobility influence the strategies of industry stakeholders like OPmobility?

F. Laroche: It’s still difficult for automotive industry stakeholders to discern clear market trends. Which means that OEMs and automakers need to be flexible in identifying their targets and shaping their business plans. Some automakers have opted to offer only electric vehicles for high-income users, while others are proving hugely successful with gasoline/LPG hybrids aimed more at customers with middle and low incomes. We’re a long way from a one-size-fits-all solution.

What new mobility habits are emerging alongside the development of sustainable solutions?

F. Laroche: Car sharing and carpooling are becoming increasingly popular, and attracting more and more users. But there’s still progress to be made: in France, for example, 70% of commutes are still made by private car, and estimates suggest that car sharing in France accounts for only 3% of daily journeys. At the same time, it’s clear that bikes, scooters and other new modes of personal mobility are doing very well in urban environments. More generally, personal mobility remains the mode of choice in suburban and rural areas, where public transit networks are still underdeveloped. And let’s not forget how quickly people returned to their automobiles after the Covid crisis.

So how do you see the future of mobility options and mobility habits going forward?

F. Laroche: We’ve seen an explosion in travel over the last decade. This is a very positive trend in terms of our individual right to mobility. Everything points to that trend intensifying over the coming years. Digital technology is changing people’s mobility habits as more accessible solutions emerge, and energy resources continue to diversify. That’s very positive from the economic perspective, because it means we’ll be able to adapt the way we travel to suit our budget. The operating range of electric vehicles is another possible area for development. Once that has been significantly increased, users will find it much more attractive to switch to electric. In the future, electric vehicles will be able to meet this exponential growth in demand for mobility, thereby broadening the range of solutions and making good sense in environmental terms.


On the same topic, find out the complementary viewpoint from Alexandre Corjon, Executive VP, Innovation & Software, OPmobility.

Print issue