The European Parliament has ratified the end of sales of combustion-powered vehicles in 2035. The automotive fleet is now at the pivotal stage between the start-up phase and the phase of massive electrification needed to achieve the decarbonization objectives. Nevertheless, the electrification of the fleet raises new social, economic and environmental issues, with a major challenge for France and Europe: that of the material resources required for battery production.
The supply of critical metals has become a strategic issue, raising questions of availability, sovereignty and responsibility. The growing increase in demand over the next few years, combined with the challenges of supply and the time required to develop new deposits, presents a potential bottleneck in the electrification process.
At the same time, over the last ten years, the average size of vehicles has increased by 10%, driven by automakers’ strategy of “SUVization” of the market. This trend is reflected in the range of electric vehicles, which are becoming heavier, with larger batteries. In the long term, the growth of these vehicles, which consume more resources and emit more emissions in production and use, jeopardizes the transition.
This program aims to identify levers for limiting pressure on critical materials and quantify their impact, with a focus on market trends towards greater frugality and efficiency.
The methodology is based on a comparison with a material supply perspective of a trend scenario to 2035 and a sustainable scenario. The second scenario incorporates levers for frugality (smaller, less-equipped vehicles), sobriety (a reduction in kilometers traveled and an increase in modal shift), and technological efficiency.
The aim is to quantify the difference in pressure on materials between the two scenarios, and to assess the social co-benefits, in terms of accessibility, and environmental co-benefits, in terms of emissions. The findings will provide input for discussions aimed at moving the industry towards resource efficiency.
This work is being carried out in partnership with WWF, and in collaboration with our technical partner C-Ways, who carried out the modelling for both scenarios.