03 May 2024

The end of the internal combustion engine: why and how?

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Jean-Philippe Hermine
Managing Director

As part of the campaign for the 2024 European elections, Terra Nova think tank asked various experts to make recommendations on a number of strategic issues for the future of the European Union. At a time when some people are casting doubt on the Green Deal’s approach to this issue and on the future of the electric vehicle, Jean-Philippe Hermine (IMT Managing director) responded to the current controversies and sets out an industrial policy that should enable Europe to hold its own in the competition with China and the United States. He shows that the temptation to delay the transition would be socially and industrially harmful, as well as being environmentally inconsistent.


The electrification of  vehicle fleets is not the only solution for decarbonizing the transport sector to the level required by European commitments and climate requirements. It is clear that other actions will also contribute to it / play their part, some of which may be less complicated to implement, less socially disruptive, while being just as beneficial in environmental terms. Whichever scenario is adopted, steps that will have to be implemented include: further development in terms of the quantity and quality of public transport (rail, high-frequency bus services, car-sharing routes); safety improvement of alternative modes of transport (bicycles, intermediate vehicles) and ensuring their interoperability with other transport solutions; and, of course, controlling the demand for mobility (teleworking, price signals on fuel, etc.). However, according to almost all available and credible scenarios, all of these other levers could only contribute to a maximum of a 20% GHG emission reduction by 2050 from Europe’s mobility and freight transport sectors.

Technological/energy options other than purely vehicle electrification could also contribute to mobility decarbonization. These include alternative fuels such as biogas, biofuels and carbon-free hydrogen. However, at this stage, they are clearly less efficient in both energy and environmental terms. Moreover, they are not generally economically viable without significant and ongoing government support to develop or maintain their use. Furthermore, the volumes available for these alternative fuels are likely to be limited, and they will have to be focused on uses that are difficult to electrify, such as sea or air freight or, in the case of roads, towards the niche of long-distance  transport of goods.

Consequently, whichever way you frame the question, achieving carbon neutrality for the mobility of people and the transport of goods will inevitably require a radical electrification of the fleet of private cars, commercial vehicles and heavy good vehicles by 2050.

This paper has two aims. Firstly, to respond to the main controversies that are currently undermining the credibility of this electrification perspective, which are bound to arise in the European Parliament election campaign in June 2024, whether due to pressure from populist eco-sceptic parties, or from various lobbies opposed to the transformation of their business models. Secondly, to outline the guidelines that will enable us, in the next term of office, to complete the regulatory framework set out in the Green Deal (particularly to end the sale of emitting vehicles from 2035) to tackle the social, environmental, industrial and strategic issues that are currently being insufficiently addressed. Ultimately, the aim is to objectify the issues at stake and to assert a political will by giving more substance and coherence to this crucial transition project at the European level.

Historical background: changes in the political context 2022-2024 and the interplay of actors

In 2021/2022, under the French Presidency in particular, the principle of ending the sale of vehicles that do not have zero tailpipe emissions from 2035 (combined with a trajectory of intermediate CO2/km targets for average sales in 2025 and 2030) was adopted by the European institutions. This sequence is characterized by the Commission’s determination to respect this component of the Green Deal (a logical condition for achieving carbon neutrality in 2050 for the vehicle fleet, given the lifespan of vehicles), a relative consensus among NGOs, and acceptance by most European manufacturers (some of whom are simultaneously making even more restrictive individual commitments: Mercedes, Volvo and Stellantis have all set this date at 2030, all of whom are chasing the status of pure electric vehicle players such as Tesla, whose stock market value had reached that of the three largest American companies in history combined). It is important to note that Member States and European parties had at that time adopted a perfectly neutral to clearly favourable position in the debate. The recently levelled criticism, coming from a variety of sources, aimed at public decision-makers for not having carried out a thorough impact assessment of this measure, is partly questionable: at a time when most manufacturers were vying with each other in terms of ambitions and announcements to improve their image or to satisfy investors, it is quite normal for the European Union to have carried out an impact assessment focusing on future generations and the need to move away from fossil fuels as soon as possible. We shall see in this article that problems of sovereignty or industrial autonomy are certain to arise as ecosystem transformation takes place in Europe, but it is worth remembering that neither the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States nor the Ukrainian crisis were in the picture at the time. It is also worth remembering that the automotive sector in countries such as France and Italy had already lost 40% of its jobs as a result of two decades of production relocations, which had nothing whatsoever to do with electrification, and which were perfectly acceptable to the European carmakers and equipment manufacturers concerned by production costs and profitability.

From 2023, however, the ratification of the text saw the emergence in Germany, under the impetus of the FDP (associated with certain trade unions concerned about employment in Germany), of an attempt to introduce alternative fuels for internal combustion engine vehicles (powered by e-fuels), alongside the implicit solution of the electric vehicle. The notion of “technological neutrality” has come back into the spotlight, with choices and risk-taking, according to its advocates, being left to the discretion of manufacturers, who would be “in a better position to judge and manage the decarbonization of their products” without a “technological diktat”. In France, the controversy has been taken up by the biofuel and biogas lobby.

Those in favour of calling the pathway and the 2035 target into question are counting in particular on the review clause enshrined in European legislation in 2026. The Commission does not wish to reopen the debate, but the most vulnerable economic actors or their representatives are hesitating, as is the case with ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association, who represent European carmakers). Indeed, due to a cognitive syndrome or bias, when a change is complicated or paved with economic uncertainties, there is a temptation to break the framework of constraints, in the hope that in the short term at least, the consequences will be favourable.




The 2022 consensus on banning the sale of vehicles that emit greenhouse gases from 2035 was based on the idea that road transport of both light and heavy vehicles now has a remarkable innovation – the electric battery – that makes it possible to envisage a complete shift away from fossil fuels. Over the last 10 years, this solution has proved its worth in at least four respects:

  • Technology (convenience, reliability, durability): even questions about battery life have been largely resolved with new vehicle models. The question now facing manufacturers designing new models is how to strike the right balance between cost, weight, energy efficiency, charging speed and battery and vehicle durability. The answer to this equation depends on the use or type of vehicle, but there is no real technological impossibility at present.
  • Economy: the cost per km of using an electric vehicle (EV) is lower for medium to long-distance drivers, even when amortizing the acquisition cost, which is currently more expensive than for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, due to much lower energy costs and lower vehicle maintenance costs. However, it is important to ensure that the vehicle and battery are repairable, which is not the case for all models, particularly those produced in China, which overlook this aspect in favour of prioritizing cost and sales price (the European regulatory framework on this issue needs to be clarified and strengthened).
  1. Health: when it comes to air quality in cities, EVs emit no nitrogen dioxide (NOx) or engine particulates. This benefit is a major motivating factor in China and India, and remains decisive in Europe, where urban air pollution continues to cause more than 200,000 premature deaths annually.
  2. Climate: an EV has around half of the carbon footprint (or even a quarter in France, given the country’s very low-carbon electricity mix) of an equivalent ICE vehicle, if emissions over the entire life cycle are included in the calculation (this is based on the current European electricity mix, which is itself constantly improving in terms of carbon intensity – around 250g CO2/kWh in 2022 compared with 340g CO2/kWh in 2012).

The maturity of this solution explains why an industrial race is underway worldwide, both from a technological standpoint and in terms of industrial capacity and location. Asian manufacturers (Korea, China, Japan) are the current leaders, while American manufacturers are rapidly catching up, thanks in particular to the financial support plan linked to Joe Biden’s IRA. Against this backdrop, European manufacturers and equipment suppliers could be left behind for a long time if they continue to procrastinate, with the risk that Europe will eventually lose a proportion of GDP and high added-value industrial jobs (the European automotive industry employs more than 13 million people), while facing an increase in geostrategic dependence, to an extent that the transition itself would become problematic.

However, the review clause, scheduled for 2026, on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) regulation, which defines CO2/km emission thresholds for the entire fleet of each manufacturer, legitimate as it may be, creates a form of fragility in the European industrial project. It could provide an opportunity to consider postponing or reducing the Green Deal targets. This could give a stimulus to a whole range of actors, including: populist parties that thrive on defending lifestyles and practices inherited from the past; trade unions who associate closely with these parties, who first and foremost seek to defend jobs in the existing industry; a number of Member States that are lagging behind in terms of investment, such as Italy; industrial groups that are behind the curve, such as Toyota; or even captains of industry with libertarian leanings or who are frustrated by the European Commission and its imposition of an agenda, including a technological one, on the market. Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, implicitly acknowledges that he is agnostic on climate issues, and is preparing his company to be a winner in the competition, whatever the ambitions or political renunciations that may result from the forthcoming elections in the United States or Europe. For this reason, campaigning for the next European Parliament elections has a strategic element: defenders of the status quo and advocates of the postponement or the reduction of ambition will need a conservative or even ecologically-sceptical majority to achieve their aims; conversely, the other side will need a Parliament that is capable of supporting a transition that is both climatic and industrial, while taking on the associated social and autonomy challenges.

However, most actors who seek delays are hesitant: they are well aware of the potential danger of postponing the pathway set in 2022. Indeed, the current regulatory framework provides visibility for all, securing investment decisions and guaranteeing a degree of fairness in competition between actors. A postponement or further deferral would most likely lead to a delay in the transformation of the industrial base, and ultimately to an even greater competitive gap with China and the United States. In the medium to long term, this process would result in even greater job losses and loss of market share. This inclination to postpone is very unevenly spread within the EU: Eastern European countries (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, etc.) are not in favour of delays, nor are Spain and Portugal, which are currently benefiting from Asian investment and that from historical Western European actors for the construction of future electrical models (and also gigafactories). These countries therefore tend to support the current electrification pathway.

In this context of strategic hesitation, it is essential to provide a clear response to the controversies that tend to undermine the relevance and legitimacy of current European decisions.

Controversy 1: EVs are unaffordable for most people

This argument asserts that the purchase price of EVs is socially discriminatory. It is sometimes accompanied by criticism of state subsidies (ecological grants, etc.) as being excessively expensive and biased in favour of the more affluent.

High acquisition costs

Even if the price of EVs is set to fall as more affordable entry-level models enter the market, there is no doubt that they are more expensive than conventional vehicles. On average, an EV costs €10,000 more than a corresponding ICE vehicle. But this order of magnitude does not take the cost of use over the life cycle into account, which is in a majority of cases significantly lower than that of an ICE, even when including vehicle depreciation (the cost of energy to cover 100km in an EV is around €3, compared with an average of more than €10 for a petrol vehicle).

Furthermore, the problem of the higher purchase cost is largely due to the array of models being originally too focused on large vehicles (top-of-the-range saloons or SUVs). Technological developments (new batteries that do not contain cobalt, nickel or lithium, which are less sensitive to supply issues and less costly, will produce a further significant drop in prices over the next five years) and the strategic shift by manufacturers (who have finally understood the need to embrace affordable EVs or run the risk of the long-term stagnation of European sales volumes) are leading to the gradual emergence of a range of models that are more in line with market needs: vehicles with smaller body sizes (A and B segments) and with greater efficiency in terms of consumed energy and resources. Technology optimization and volume effects are currently having an impact: the cost of EVs has already fallen by 30% in five years. And several of the electric models to be released will be much more affordable in Europe (R5, C3, Twingo-e, etc.) than the EVs offered and sold over the past five years.

This trend can and must be supported by clear (and stable) tax and regulatory measures (weight penalties, environmental ratings, etc.) at national and European levels, to give manufacturers strong signals about social and political expectations in terms of supply. The challenge is to correct the recent drift: SUVs (vehicles that are larger in volume and mass, less aerodynamically efficient, and which are described as such by the manufacturers themselves in their catalogues) have risen from 10% to 40% of sales in ten years, while purchase prices have risen by 30% in 4 years (for average European sales – an unprecedented trend that exceeds by far the inflation observed over the period). This was largely due to the Covid crisis and the shortage of semi-conductors, with carmakers prioritizing their margins on larger, fully-equipped vehicles (in terms of production and sales, by adjusting the availability of models and versions). This way, they have been able to restore their operating accounts in just a few years, which as we exit the crisis are in fairly good to very good shape.

Finally, the currently very limited second-hand market (EVs are still too new) gives the impression that EVs, as an object or a solution, are only for the most affluent. One of the main works currently being carried out with the overhaul of the tax system and the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM) for companies in France, is to generate a strong compulsion for businesses to make their fleets greener, so that a market for second-hand EVs can emerge more rapidly for everyone (companies have a much higher rate of fleet renewal than private individuals). In this respect, in the chapter on measures to be promoted at the European level, we propose to address some of the measures that are currently in place or under discussion in France (see below: Part II, 2.1, Proposal 2: Greening quotas for public and private fleets).

State support

It is true (and perfectly justifiable) that in an initial phase of catalysing the transition and initiating change, state-funded grants were initially untargeted and therefore accessible to the shrewdest buyers, who benefited more than others as a result. But the political and fiscal instruments are now gradually being deliberately redeployed, to the benefit of the most precarious people or the most dependent (for whom social leasing is designed), with a view to supporting those most affected by the transition. Across Europe, the support systems that were initially implemented to kick-start the transition are being phased out either gradually (UK) or abruptly (Germany), or are becoming conditional to an environmental rating (France) and/or a vehicle price cap (France/Germany in 2023).

Controversy 2: Biofuels and biogas are not sufficiently considered

There is a strong pressure in France from actors in the agricultural and gas industries to promote the introduction of a significant proportion of biogas and biofuels (from crops such as rapeseed, maize, sugar beet and sunflower) for the decarbonization of road transport. They do not hesitate to highlight the risks associated with exclusive reliance on electric power, while pointing out the national sovereignty advantages of biogas (or green gas) and biofuel production. It should be noted that this is an issue in France, in particular.

Published studies (notably from IDDRI and the Institut Mobilités en transition (IMT)) dispute the sovereignty advantage claimed by advocates of this solution. A large proportion of biofuels are not only imported (80% for bio-diesel), but often come from distant countries (a significant proportion from Australia, for reasons of seasonality). Furthermore, the availability of sufficient quantities of these fuels is far from certain in the context of the forthcoming agroecological transition and the new climate context: lower yields linked to the reduction of inputs (plant protection products, synthetic fertilisers, etc.), constraints on water use, competition with food production – all of which are factors that are likely to limit the production volumes of these alternative fuels. Lastly, the range of biogas-compatible vehicles available from manufacturers is likely to be limited, as they cannot afford to invest in a broad energy mix while at the same time driving the transition to electric vehicles.

In summary, the key lies in working together with the various user types (within the road sector, but also and most importantly with other users, particularly industrial users, who face the absence of fossil fuel alternatives) to develop a system for prioritizing and balancing supply and demand that takes into consideration, above all, the limits, the lock-in effects (created through the refuelling infrastructure or the vehicle fleet) or the economic dependence on an intensive agricultural model that is not particularly virtuous or sustainable (biodiversity/nitrogen cycle). However, the transformation of agricultural production will have to accelerate in the coming years, if only to adapt to climate change. Ultimately, the sovereignty provided by these biogas/biofuel solutions is rather illusory.

Controversy 3: There is soon to be an influx of cheap Chinese vehicles onto the European market

Some express the view that, far from providing the road to redemption, electrification would sound the death knell for European carmakers, who would be swamped by the more competitive and advanced Asian carmakers. The Eldorado that China represented between 2005 and 2020 for European carmakers (particularly German and Japanese) would very quickly become the tiger that threatens our entire industry and intensifies our dependence on China.   

Potential inrush of Chinese brands

A number of manufacturers (BYD and MG) have launched an offensive in Europe that has met with some success. Prices are very attractive and the products are well designed and technologically advanced for the European market. Vehicles produced in China now account for 4% of sales in Europe (the majority being produced by non-Chinese manufacturers). However, the game is far from over: the above-mentioned brands are the subject of a dumping investigation launched by the European Commission. Chinese carmakers benefit from heavily subsidized industrial capacities (Beijing’s CAPEX/OPEX is estimated to be between 50% and 60%, whereas the EU authorizes Member States to fund their OEMs within the range of 15% to 30-35% maximum, and on a more limited scope of investments and costs).

The competitiveness of the Chinese supply also warrants closer examination. It is true that Chinese factories have excess capacity in relation to their own market (and are therefore looking for external outlets), and labour costs are estimated to be 80% lower than the average in France and 40% lower than in Poland (for the automotive sector), with a similar situation in terms of energy costs (according to McKinsey, the price of electricity is on average 10 to 20 dollars less in China and the United States (IRA will widen this gap even further) than in Europe, although there are wide disparities among Member States). Overall, Chinese manufacturers are able to produce equivalently performing vehicles at around 25% less than European manufacturers. However, if we add the cost of transport (more than €1,000 per vehicle) and customs duties of 10%, according to our calculations the competitive gap shrinks to almost 7% for a small vehicle (segment A or B) and around 15% for a medium to large vehicle (segment C and D). As a result, these are the vehicles that will be prioritized for export by Chinese brands looking to establish in Europe. This is not a new strategy: in the past, Asian manufacturers (Japanese, Korean) have penetrated the European market in segments C and D, but have preferred to locate the production of their A and B segment vehicles in Europe (such as the Toyota Yaris in Onnaing, France) for the same reasons of transport costs, customs duties, price to pay for adapting to European rules and margins and to access to the EU market.

If Europe seeks to narrow the competitive gap with Asian rivals in the short term, particularly in segments C and D, tariffs can of course be used as a lever (an approach taken by the US, which imposed 25% tariffs on imported Chinese vehicles, compared with the EU’s tariff of only 10%). European countries can also use the conditionality of subsidies or advantageous taxation to promote environmental performance (European energy production is much less carbon-intensive). From this perspective, the measures implemented in France, where ecological grants for EVs are conditional to an environmental rating (the carbon footprint throughout the supply chain and production), very clearly discriminate against Chinese-produced models (MG sales collapsed in France following the introduction of the environmental eco-score). In 2023, around 35% of electric vehicles sold in France were manufactured in China, compared with 16% in March 2024.) While this system is therefore temporarily restoring the competitiveness of European production, it nevertheless suffers from a need for Europe-wide application (and Germany is generally opposed to the idea, see below) and from the absence of a standard methodology for assessing the environmental impact of vehicle production.

Lastly, European manufacturers are partly to blame for their difficulties. Their sense of fragility is linked to the fact that most have developed an electric range focused on large vehicles (SUVs, C and D segments), with the promise of higher margins – the very margins now being attacked by Chinese models (this is partly a short-term strategic choice, and a risky one for French manufacturers, whose expertise is traditionally in smaller vehicles). However, if the most recent statements from manufacturers are a guide, this aspect seems to have been taken on board (Renault has announced the launch of the e-twingo, soon to be produced in Europe (with a selling price of under €20,000), while news that company executives are calling for a regulatory and industrial framework that encourages the emergence of very small electric vehicles is to be welcomed).

Competitiveness problems in France and Germany

The problem of European competitiveness is therefore not so much one of small to medium-sized vehicles: Eastern and Southern Europe, with their regional subsidies and lower labour costs, are perfectly competitive. In fact, French, German and Chinese manufacturers are largely localizing production of the smallest electric models in these areas (there were several announcements to this effect in 2023: Stellantis in Spain, BYD in Hungary being the most recent ones).

Conversely, three European countries (France and Italy for some time, and Germany more recently) are suffering from a chronic lack of competitiveness and are experiencing job losses in the sector (over the last four years, between 2019 and 2023, French production has fallen from 2.7 million vehicles to 1.5 million). This lack of competitiveness is structural and has nothing to do with electrification: it results from the continued determination of national manufacturers to systematically put their national sites into competition with sites in countries that were once more competitive. The reduction in production volume then automatically leads to costly OPEX overcapacity at the long-established sites and to a lack of investment in the local ecosystem (equipment manufacturers, service providers, etc.) to improve productivity, which in turn widens the competitive gap of the sites at stake (Spain is experiencing the opposite phenomenon at the expense of France and Italy, for example).

The structural problem facing French industry can only be solved by re-establishing a positive investment dynamic, expressed by a shared and sustained desire on the part of manufacturers and government to locate models in the country. In this sense, the transformation of the industrial ecosystem, which is being redesigned to meet new needs (gigafactories, dedicated supply and recycling chains), is an opportunity to locate these new businesses in France, provided that we make the most of the competitiveness lever created by the price of energy and its low-carbon nature.

The cost of labour, often cited by manufacturers as an obstacle to locating or maintaining operations in France, is often exaggerated. Firstly, because the regional cost of production jobs is comparable to that of Spain, for example, which has become a very attractive industrial location in recent years (the average cost of labour may seem very high in France compared to the average cost of the sector in Spain or Morocco, countries where jobs in the sector are on average much less skilled, because French carmakers have a strong engineering and managerial job base in France, compared to factory production jobs, as a result of chronic deindustrialization over the past 15 years). If we seek to avoid prejudices or principled positions on related issues such as labour costs or production taxes, we need to compare what is really comparable. Toyota in Onnaing, France, considers its plant to be the most competitive in Europe and has continued to assemble vehicles there without cutting production for decades. This proves that consistent allocations and investments are the best way to avoid a decline in competitiveness. The hope is that Renault’s initiative in the Dunkirk area will have a knock-on effect, while maintaining the project’s focus on building a complete local ecosystem. A project of this scale can only succeed if all stakeholders share the same level of ambition and effort (regions, states, manufacturers, suppliers, institutional financiers, etc.). One of the main issues surrounding this project is the question of developing the right amount of training, skills and expertise to meet requirements. Here again, the logics of cooperation, anticipation and ecosystems is essential.

From this perspective, the “technological neutrality” of the regulatory framework, called for by some, loses much of its meaning, or at least its effectiveness. How can we call for a competitive, stable industrial plan, with the necessary resources of skills and specific supply chains to support it, if there is no agreement between public and private actors on the technological avenues to strengthen. Technological leeway is essential and innovation, including disruptive innovation, must be structurally supported, but this must be done within the framework of a stable and largely shared technological pathway. This is the approach that the Chinese authorities have consistently implemented, and which has given them their competitive advantage to date. It is in the interest of Europe and its economic actors to avoid dispersing now that the industrial challenges are entering the most important and toughest implementation phase.

Controversy 4: Batteries cannot be recycled and certain critical metals are insufficiently available

There is an argument that batteries cannot be recycled and that critical metals (Co, Ni, Cu, etc.) are not available in sufficient quantities. The shift to electrification would thus push us into a new geostrategic dependence and lead us to endorse operating/processing conditions that are reprehensible in terms of labour law and the environment.

Battery recyclability

We are facing a transition problem, that doesn’t question the solution: the critical metals needed for the transition must be extracted from the ground within the next 15 years, under satisfactory conditions from a social and environmental point of view. However, unlike fossil fuels, they are not destroyed during use and can be reused as part of the new battery production cycle.

Our current dependence on fossil fuels is due partly to a concentration of resources in certain countries, and partly to the fact that this energy carrier is destroyed during use (it is burnt during combustion), generating greenhouse gases by releasing the carbon accumulated from biomass that has been buried for hundreds of millions of years. Conversely, the critical metals in batteries could be refreshed when the stock needed for an electric vehicle fleet is fully attained (by 2045-2050), through closed-loop recycling of batteries and vehicles.

Electrification thus relies on a storage vector (the battery) for decarbonized energy (if the stored electricity derives from renewable or nuclear origin, as is the case for most of France), which is converted into mechanical energy without significant losses. The major difference with the internal combustion engine is that the energy carrier is not destroyed in this case. The components (mainly metal) remain intact and can be recycled with limited losses (over 95% recycling rate for the most critical metals).

Batteries are perfectly recyclable using the same processes as those used for phone or computer batteries. There is currently a shortfall in industrial recycling capacity in the EU compared with China (which is also very advanced in this area). Furthermore, the processes used in Europe are not yet sufficiently versatile, and often not adequately efficient either (in terms of purification) to produce new batteries. At present it is estimated that more than 60% of the active materials produced by the recycling of production waste from European gigafactories is exported to Asia for reuse. This is a problem of the rapid upstream and downstream development of industrial ecosystems, which can be fully resolved in Europe through the implementation of a strengthened industrial policy in this field.

Circular economy opportunities, notably when considering the battery life cycle, are therefore intrinsically linked to electrification, which offers the promise of continental sovereignty in the long term, and a theoretical end to geostrategic dependency. Circularitymust therefore be initiated, supported and protected as a new priority by a proactive, forward-looking European regulatory framework.

The new European battery regulation validated in 2023 is exemplary from this point of view, as it aims to create a demand shock by setting minimum incorporation rates for critical materials from recycling in new batteries from 2030. It is also innovative in that it sets out requirements for transparency (due diligence) and a framework of responsibility for the entire supply chain in terms of human rights practices and environmental performance. The battery passport, which also includes a carbon footprint calculated on a standard basis, will provide reliable consumer information, and could even lead to the introduction of labelling systems or tax incentives for the most resource-efficient batteries and those with the lowest production impact.

Critical metal supply

While the above-mentioned system can be described as virtuous, the fact remains that the amount of critical metals needed for the upcoming transitional decade is far from being available today (for lithium, copper, nickel and cobalt) and that more than 80% still needs to be extracted from the ground over the next 15 years. By 2030, intra-European recycling of end-of-life batteries will only cover 10-15% of the requirements for producing new batteries. For these metals, we will have to extract from the ground in 20 years as much as we have extracted since antiquity. 1 O. Vidal, 2020 These figures include non-automotive needs (heating, wind power, photovoltaics, etc.).

The entire European industry (manufacturers and gigafactories) is anticipating a very high demand for certain materials around 2026-2028 (lithium, nickel and copper primarily; for the record, there are no “rare earth elements” in batteries, while their use is only sometimes necessary in certain electric motor models). These anticipated tensions are due to the time lag between the development of additional mining capacity (average lead time for a mining industry project is 10 years) and the explosion in battery demand (lithium consumption is expected to increase tenfold between now and 2030). We need to add to this the gradual depletion of high-concentration copper mines, which is driving up production costs and increasing the environmental impact. Finally, in this context of tension and scarcity, the origin and conditions of local production call for greater vigilance (several renowned NGOs are issuing warnings on this matter).

Mining is currently concentrated in a few producing countries (Australia, certain South American and African countries and Indonesia). But the chain for transforming ore into anode and cathode components is even more concentrated, since 70% of the metals used in the manufacture of batteries worldwide are refined or prepared in China (Europe allowed this expertise and the  “Seveso-type” factories to disappear, in a willingness to no longer manage these activities on its territory). This situation raises two questions. The first one is the level of dependence on Chinese industry (note that China has restricted its exports of graphite to the EU and the United States from the end of 2023) or on Indonesia for nickel compounds, a country that quite rightly wants raw material processing and the production of high added-value batteries to be located in its own territory, for its own needs. The second issue is that of production conditions, the level of requirements, monitoring and transparency in the supply chain and the opening of mines in Europe (a minimum condition for defining and demanding acceptable mining standards elsewhere in the world).

The European Critical Raw Materials Act (CRMA), adopted in 2023, is intended to address this issue, but while it sets out objectives, it provides few pathways and, above all, few financial resources to support the localization of a competitive supply and processing chain in Europe.

The best way to reduce tensions and dependency on critical raw materials is to do without them. There are two ways in which this can be achieved. The first one is to diversify technologies, particularly battery chemistries: this driver is in full effect since the 2021 and 2022 price explosion on the critical metal market, with alternative chemistries reaching Europe (lithium, ferro phosphate batteries without nickel or cobalt, or lithium-free sodium batteries). Tomorrow’s market will comprise a technological mix adapted to needs and uses. Europe’s current problem is that all the advanced gigafactory projects are currently based solely on lithium-nickel-cobalt technology. Currently only Asian producers have expertise in less critical and less costly chemistries. There is an urgent need to catch up with this technological diversity or to re-establish it in Europe: this can be achieved through cooperation and co-investment in Europe with Asian partners, which is the best way to ensure rapid progress.

The second area concerns efficiency and frugality (reducing the number of vehicles in the fleet, as well as the size of vehicles and batteries). This is a major gap in the above-mentioned CRMA and in the Commission’s actions, which at this stage do not envisage any measures to control and reduce European demand for critical metals during the difficult transition period. In recent studies, 2 Critical metals for electric vehicle batteries: how to control demand – IDDRI (institut-mobilites-en-transition.org) the Institut Mobilités en Transition (IMT, created by IDDRI) 3 | IDDRI , WWF and Transport & Environment NGO have shown that if all efficiency levers were activated (controlling demand by modal shifts, “de-SUVisation”, a return to a vehicle segmentation make up of around 10 years ago, limiting battery size), the demand for critical materials could be reduced by 30% in 2030 in Europe. The efficiency issue is therefore a subject that needs to be readopted and equipped with the necessary tools.

Efficiency is justified by the industrial supply challenges faced, and is perfectly in line with other imperatives linked to the transition. These imperatives include, firstly, a need for vehicles to be affordable: materials account for 30% of vehicle production costs, a more frugal and resource-efficient range, using recycled materials and with reasonable weights and battery sizes, is less expensive. Secondly, there is the issue of the energy supply from the grid (the total electricity consumption of the vehicle fleet): here again, moving towards more frugal vehicles will make it possible to limit the demand for decarbonized electricity, which is also subject to availability issues (until at least 2040 for France) and for which the dynamic of capacity increase requires time and major investment. This fully justifies measures aimed at generating a more economical and energy-efficient fleet of corporate and private vehicles (see the European environmental rating proposal below).

Controversy 5: The charging infrastructure network and the electric light commercial vehicle (LCV) supply are not available

Another potential issue is the current range of electric vehicles, which may not be suitable for all uses. Low Emission Zones (LEZs), which will lead to severe restrictions on diesel in towns and cities, may act as a deterrent and a threat to the professional federations of hauliers and traders.

The European Alternative Fuels Infrastructure regulation (AFIR) provides a framework and imposes obligations on Member States for the gradual installation of public charging stations 4 For each country, there is a minimum threshold for total installed recharging power of 1.3 kW per electric vehicle and 0.8 kW per plug-in hybrid vehicle in the fleet (derogation possible from 15% EVs in the fleet, current situation = 2.5%). The AFIR also sets thresholds for heavy vehicles (> 3.5 tonnes). in line with the transformation of the vehicle fleet. Western European Member States have established investment pathways, to which they  have committed, to meet these needs, but the issue is more complicated in certain Eastern and Southern European countries. The electrification of heavy good vehicles will create specific needs in terms of power and fast chargers on the motorway network, which will require the coordination of public and private funding. Finally, the issue of home charging in apartment blocks remains a concern to be addressed at the national level. On this issue, we can see that the supply across Europe has generally kept pace with demand to date. The diagnosis, pathways and regulatory framework are broadly in place, the challenge is mainly one of implementation and the scale of implementation is essentially national.

The LEZs, for their part, do not match the caricature we often make of them, particularly in France: as shown by Barbara Pompili’s report 5 Acceptabilité des zones à faibles émissions – Les enseignement à tirer de l’expérience des pays européens par Barbara Pompili and the work of Quentin Perrier 6  Retours d’expérience de quatre ZFE européennes : Berlin, Bruxelles, Londres, Madrid – La Grande Conversation , these zones can work well in some countries. Moreover, a whole raft of derogations and targeted support measures have been implemented in the most advanced cities: France is a long way from the equation “LEZ in 2030 = mandatory EV”! Finally, in the case of France, there is only a small number of urban areas (Paris, Marseille and Lyon) that will have to introduce genuinely restrictive LEZs within 5 years.

As for the recently unveiled electric LCV models (Master E-Tech-type), they offer significantly improved range (actual range of 300km) and very attractive TCOs 7 Total Cost of Ownership, i.e. all the direct and indirect costs associated with owning the vehicle. for professionals, around 10% lower than diesel when purchase subsidies are taken into account as of mid-April 2023.8 Institut Mobilité en Transition, see technical details, Renault e-master, online: YT PXR 20231004 153 12 txt00 visH08 vH00 r am forH (youtube.com) It is true that the supply of e-LCVs takes longer to appear due to the much longer lifespan of the models for these vehicle categories (development programmes are renewed every 10 to 15 years, and the range is limited to a few vehicles per manufacturer, so the speed of supply seems slow). That said, the average performance pathways in terms of grams of CO2/km for new vehicles also apply (with a slight delay compared with private cars, for the reasons given above): increasingly efficient and versatile electrified models will gradually come onto the market. These vehicles will make it possible to meet manufacturers’ obligations in terms of CAFE regulations and the needs associated with driving in LEZs. Finally, a number of European actors are planning to put on the market small, electric commercial vehicles suitable for urban deliveries, which could make it possible to radically reorganize last-mile logistics. Here again, manufacturer’s products will not do everything: a systemic overhaul of urban logistics must be encouraged in conjunction with economic actors and the authorities in charge of mobility at the local level (specific infrastructure and property requirements are necessary, as are digital tools to optimize traffic flow).




The electrification of road mobility is a global phenomenon. The industrial transformation it implies is well underway and already irreversible in North America and Asia. There is no doubt about its feasibility in Europe, but the conditions for its deployment, its efficiency and its fairness can be greatly improved. To achieve this, it is not a question of “adapting” the current European regulatory framework (i.e. to change the pace of progress to allow more time to act), even though this will be called for by those in favour of revising the 2025, 2030 and 2035 targets. The scope for discussion of the 2026 review clause must be clarified by the Commission. At this stage, it is unlikely that a majority will emerge in favour of questioning the ban on the sales of non-zero emission vehicles from 2035: the risk of procrastination for the European industry that would result from such a revision of the timetable or targets would be high and the consequences could be highly deleterious. It is more a question of “completing” this regulatory framework to correct certain negative environmental or social effects/externalities and to strengthen the European industrial project, which at this stage remains uncompetitive and incomplete. The main impacts to be corrected, as we have seen above in the analysis of controversies, are the dependence on and impact of raw materials, the excessive size and price of vehicles, the feeling of social exclusion, the development of skills and expertise and, finally, the risk of a decline in European production and the potential loss of associated jobs.

In the context of an already complex debate on a regulatory “pause” or “piling up”, it makes sense to counter “less regulation” with “better regulation” and to adopt a protective approach and narrative (protective of European industry and the most precarious).

In general, it is important to move away from a debate that is mainly centred on the environment and the climate, that was led by NGOs (purposedly) from 2015 to 2022, and from now on to describe this transition as an opportunity and a means of solving related and pre-existing structural problems of the mobility ecosystem or the industrial sector: namely the de-industrialization of Europe (France in particular), the geostrategic dependence, but also car dependence and the mobility-related precarity faced by many households.

Ultimately, to make the transition more inclusive and more acceptable, we need to demonstrate that it is a source of opportunities. For this to happen, the economic actors on the one hand, and the European institutions on the other, will have to share this ambition and want to steer it together: this is far from being the case today.




The current regulatory framework needs to be supplemented for several reasons. The first reason is that it only currently covers  CO2 emissions during use (more precisely, the average CO2/km on a test cycle, the sales average per manufacturer, corrected by a weight factor that renders the vehicle weight reduction lever ineffective). In fact, it takes no account whatsoever of the impacts of the manufacture of a vehicle or battery (whether climatic, social or in terms of critical resources), and it does not propose a way of controlling the inflation in vehicle size that has been observed in the last ten years. Circularity needs to be introduced, along with discrimination depending on the production impacts, virtuous or otherwise, as well as signals or levers to redirect the market towards vehicles that are more efficient in terms of energy or raw material consumption (see Proposal 1 below).

The second reason why the current regulatory framework needs to be enhanced is that it currently doesn’t pay a heed to social issues or inclusivity. The proposed transformation is based on a trickle-down effect that relies on the most adaptable sections of the population (initially helped by grant systems) towards the middle classes and the most vulnerable, without breaking with the century-old model: only companies and the wealthiest 20% of households buy new vehicles, while the remaining 80%, through the second-hand market, ‘inherit’ the choices of the former. Measures such as the social leasing certainly break with this trend, creating a new level of inclusion, and should therefore be widely encouraged and deployed in Europe. However, because of their budgetary cost, measures of this type can only deal with the most precarious and dependent sections of the population (for this reason, it may be useful to prioritize their deployment in the context of LEZs to complete the targeting). It should be noted that, at the discretion of Member States, these social schemes can benefit from the Social Climate Fund, provided for by the extension of the EU’s ETS2 to transport fuels.

The other issue is that of the middle classes, who cannot all be covered by these highly targeted social support measures: to reach these people, the challenge is to rapidly create an ad hoc second-hand market (without excessive inflation in the size and price of vehicles). To achieve this, the proposal is to rely on public and private fleets (which have accounted for an average of 56% of new private vehicle registrations9 IMT data in France over the last five years, while at the European level more than 50% 10 “6 out of every 10 new cars sold today in Europe are registered through the corporate channel” T&E 2020, Company cars: how European governments are subsidizing pollution and climate change of new registrations have been registered by companies), which have a renewal rate that is twice as high as that of private individuals.


Proposal 1: Environmental rating

The idea is to equip public decision-makers (European institutions and Member States, or even towns and cities wishing to use parking or dedicated lanes to give priority to small vehicles, to quote a recent proposal by Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault Group) with a new means of promoting a policy of sufficiency/efficiency/vehicle size, while encouraging low-carbon production (a criterion generally partly associated with European production – see 2.2 below).

One of the aims is to bring to an end the growth of vehicle sizes and prices, and to slow down and reverse the “SUVisation” trend, which is inefficient in terms of energy consumption and exacerbates dependence on strategic raw materials: the weight of SUVs, on average 20% higher, and their poorer aerodynamic performance, mean that their batteries need to provide 20 to 30% more on-board energy11 Analysis based on data from Institut Mobilités en Transition for the same range, and need proportionately more critical metals. Reducing the weight of a car by 100 kg saves an average of around 0.4 litres for an ICE vehicle and 0.6 kWh for an EV, over a 100 km journey. RTE (France’s Transmission System Operator) also estimates that fewer and smaller cars would reduce our need for metals to make batteries by 28% by 2050. 12 RTE Study, Energy pathways 2050 : the electricity generation mix scenarios under study for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050,, p717

The Commission should therefore develop a standardized European-level indicator, an “environmental rating”, which will cover: a) the carbon footprint of vehicle production (currently non-existent) and its battery (already included in the new battery regulations); b) a vehicle’s energy efficiency (aerodynamic coefficient, vehicle weight); c) a vehicle’s material efficiency (battery size in kWh and content of non-recycled critical metals); and d) the degree of recyclability of the vehicle (plastics, aluminium and green steel from scrap in particular).

It could also include battery or vehicle repairability criteria, as it is becoming increasingly clear that vehicles produced in China suffer from design choices (gluing of battery modules in particular) that make them very difficult to repair (and even more difficult to recycle or reuse for a second stationary life). These inconsistent choices need to be addressed with a clear and prescriptive approach. If they remain unchanged, they will potentially lead to major maintenance complications for EV owners, especially less wealthy ones who will be those having to use these second-hand vehicles in eight to ten years’ time. The race to lower production costs in competition with vehicles that are produced following cheaper Chinese standards cannot be won at this price; bad practices must be quickly sanctionned by regulatory or market tools. Some leasing companies and large fleet owners, who are sensitive to total life-cycle costs and residual values, have understood this issue and are beginning to discriminate against certain models, but individual consumers, who are less well informed about poor eco-design and its consequences, must be protected.

Lastly, this environmental rating could also include on-board services such as bi-directional charging and discharging (Vehicle to Grid or V2G), enabling optimal management of charging periods for parked vehicles, including their use as a means of temporarily storing intermittently produced renewable electrical energy (in windy or sunny conditions), which is fed back into the grid during peak demand time slots (evenings and mornings).

Developing such a tool for measuring the life-cycle impact of vehicles and batteries could be used at the EU level or in Member States to inform consumers, to discriminate against subsidies or taxes on purchase, ownership or use for private individuals and businesses, and to set levels that must not be exceeded under the regulations for a given vehicle or for a manufacturer’s average annual sales (following the example of the CAFE regulation, which currently only covers CO2/km emissions during use). If this measure is associated with long-term pathways, it will give manufacturers a strong signal and the assurance that the development of more efficient and frugal vehicles (or, incidentally, vehicles that are more repairable/sustainable and more useful for the management of the electricity grid) is the new societal agenda and playing field for the years to come.

Once the tool has been developed, manufacturers will have to introduce mandatory reporting as part of the model approval process. It is noteworthy that this proposal is an extension of the French environmental rating, which is not a European-level standard (and is therefore contested in Europe) and which currently only serves to calculate electric vehicle grants in France.

It should also be noted that Article 15 of the CAFE regulation (average CO2/km for each manufacturer) requires the Commission to make proposals in 2024-2026 on steering the energy efficiency of zero emission vehicle registrations. This regulatory opportunity can be used to introduce the idea of an environmental rating. This could also be introduced as part of new regulations on the circular economy and end-of-life vehicles, which will be defined in 2024/2025.


Proposal 2: Greening quotas/corporate fleet mandates for private fleets

As mentioned above, the emergence of a second-hand electric vehiclemarket as quickly as possible, and one that is tailored to the needs of the middle classes, is central to organizing a more inclusive transition. The most effective driver is to introduce criteria and obligations for the greening of private fleets in Europe.

The principle is to impose zero-emission vehicle quotas to be met when renewing fleets above a certain size (more than 100 vehicles, for example, in France under the Mobility Orientation Law (LOM), which still lacks a penalty system to be truly effective).

Companies with large fleets generally have the financial resources and expertise to take advantage of ownership channels (leasing), which means that the TCO (total cost of ownership, including purchase and use) is more favourable for EVs than for equivalent ICE models (due to energy costs, which are much lower than fossil fuel costs).

There are at least two reasons why a scheme of this type is likely to emerge at the European level. The first is that it already has an equivalent for public fleets (the Clean Vehicle Directive, which until now has included plug-in hybrids, for which there is now general agreement that they are of no use for mobility decarbonization). The second reason is that the Commission has just launched a consultation on this subject (in February 2024).

On the other hand, in order to avoid that this system generates a second-hand market completely out of step with household needs, it would be very useful to complement these obligations on large fleets with criteria relating to the size, weight or environmental efficiency of vehicles. The above-mentioned environmental rating would be a good indicator to support this orientation in the obligations that would be imposed on private fleets.

A system of this type could also be extended to HGVs to secure a new CO2 emission pathway pertaining to these vehicles: such a measure, which would be imposed on hauliers and shipping companies, could not be adopted at the national level without creating competition distortions between national and non-national actors involved in international transit.


Some of the attacks on the Green Deal, as defined by the current government, will focus on the issue of industrial decline and the potential job losses it would cause. In Western Europe in particular (Germany, France and Italy especially), fleet electrification will be the perfect scapegoat for hiding structural problems of relocation and de-industrialization, which are not linked to electrification. This perception needs to be reversed when it comes to the loss of market share (for France in particular), by demonstrating that the Green Deal and the automotive transition can, on the contrary, be an opportunity to stop the decline, if we give ourselves the means to do so.

Looking at the statistics, French production has fallen from 3.7 million vehicles in 2004 to 2.2 million in 2019 (before the Covid crisis), and will fall to 1.5 million in 2023, a decline of 59% in twenty years… Between now and 2030, it is estimated that total European production will stagnate at around 17 million vehicles, while undergoing a shift towards Eastern Europe and the Iberian Peninsula, and possibly Morocco (which is in the midst of an industrial boom, driven in particular by French manufacturers). In comparison, Asia will produce 55 million vehicles by the end of the decade, with a double-digit growth rate. In these circumstances, considering that the future of the European automotive industry lies in a free and open market would be risky and unreasonable. A vision of Europe as wide open for the unrestricted international movement of goods remains anchored in principle among certain European actors. However, the current blockage in the debate to introduce a more protectionist policy comparable to the IRA in the United States, or a different model of reinvented European industrial cooperation, above all results from certain manufacturers (mainly German) prioritizing their short-term interests, because for the next few years they are dependent on income from sales in China or the United States (even if these sales are clearly dwindling).

The guidelines that should be supported in this area are based on the following raft of measures:

  • First and foremost, the EU must rapidly and strongly strengthen and reinforce its industrial transition project. Most of the sector’s stakeholders agree that this is now a priority agenda for the next term of office: ACEA, trade unions, NGOs, etc. Only European institutions can give the necessary impetus to the emergence of the new electric vehicle ecosystem and structure the support of the Member States in a fair and coordinated way (in particular to avoid sterile competition between Member States and redundant projects). The challenges are threefolded: to locate the industrial production capacity in Europe, to ensure its resilience and competitiveness in relation to the American and Asian systems, which have benefited from a head start and heavy subsidies, and finally to support innovation in new battery chemistries and mineral transformation processes, which to date have only been harnessed by Asian companies.
  • Along the same lines, Europe must also coordinate or enable Member States to take measures to restore competitiveness (particularly in France and Germany), especially through privileged access to cheap, low-carbon energy. We need to fill the 40% gap that currently exists with China and the USA, even though this only accounts for around 10% of the cost of a vehicle.
  • The ecosystem that needs to be supported is not limited to the gigafactories that are gradually being set up in Europe. Europe’s main shortcoming lies in the entire upstream gigafactory processing chain, from mining to the manufacture of cathode and anode precursors (to date, as we have discussed above, 70% of these operations for all global production are carried out in China). The same applies to the entire end-of-life/recycling chain, which in reality uses processes and expertise (sorting, refining, particularly metal refining) that are also used in the upstream chain of gigafactories. Furthermore, we must ensure that the competitiveness of this nascent industry is protected, to avoid a repeat of what happened in the European photovoltaic panel industry (using eco-score-type tools, for example, combined with tax or subsidy levers that assign a market value to environmental virtue). On this issue of the gaps in the upstream ecosystem of the battery value chain, it would be delusional to expect that only European champions would emerge: it is probably already too late to build up this part of the sector from scratch, an area that is severely lacking in Europe. The most effective way forward is through collaboration, with European-Chinese/Asian joint ventures investing their expertise in Europe to benefit from the tools that will enhance decarbonization (such as an eco-rating), or even operating in countries that are planning to co-develop the value chain from the raw material resources they wish to exploit.
  • Increasing support for the circular economy may also mean restricting the export of high-value products for recycling in Asia. Measures similar to the “waste export ban” could be considered for certain types of “automotive waste” that is becoming strategic (end-of-life batteries, active materials from their processing, but also high-quality automotive plastics and steel from vehicle bodies, which would be particularly useful for the emergence of Europe’s green steel industry). Nit is noteworthy that a vehicle’s recyclability could be included in the above-mentioned environmental rating.
  • Europe needs to strengthen its role in implementing financing tools, comparable to those of the IRA in the United States: this is possible today only temporarily and under very strict conditions (as seen recently with authorizations to waive the maximum regional subsidy rules in Europe for certain strategic projects, as in the case of Northvolt in Germany). Some are talking about the need to go further and relaunch the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) instrument, which could focus on the upstream battery chain or on the creation of the “Airbus of the very small vehicles” in Europe. The idea behind the reference to Airbus is to simultaneously harness the effects of scale and state aid (in a coordinated and not dispersed manner and in competition across Europe, as is the case today).
  • Last but not least, Europe has the opportunity to introduce tools to encourage the preferential sales of vehicles produced on the continent. There are two ways of doing this: a) by increasing custom duties on imported vehicles (currently 10% for a vehicle from Asia, compared with 25% for a Chinese vehicle imported into the United States) or on batteries for vehicles assembled in Europe (currently 0% customs duty); and b) by using tools such as the previously mentioned environmental rating (public fleets, tolls, the Eurovignette, green quotas for private fleets, etc.) to take into account the best environmental record of European production.

This last point, which would be particularly effective, raises the question of the acceptability of a form of European protectionism, whether or not it is implemented for environmental reasons. This is what France began doing last year, but its market is too small on the European scale to send out a strong signal.

It is important to note, however, that this type of measure does not currently gather strong support from economic or political actors in Germany. The Franco-German disagreement mainly concerns two issues: the first one is that the efficiency approach does not meet with unanimous approval in Germany, where there are fears that the promotion of more frugal and efficient vehicles will harm the traditional producers of premium vehicles, unlike French manufacturers whose expertise lies in smaller, generalist vehicles. The second issue is that, according to those who support the status quo, discriminating between vehicles on the basis of an environmental rating, which impacts tax and regulatory systems, would expose Europe to retaliatory measures if this criterion disqualified or penalized Chinese production too heavily.

It is important to remember that German manufacturers such as Volkswagen and Mercedes continue to occupy a large share of the Chinese market, and above all that their profits per vehicle can still be higher than those achieved in Europe. According to analysts, this situation is likely to end in two to four years, which could change the situation and the positions currently being expressed (the production capacity installed in China by all manufacturers is greater than the needs of the domestic market, leading to an intense price war that is particularly damaging for European actors based in China).

In the meantime, whether for pragmatic reasons on behalf of actors seeking to temporarily protect Chinese income streams, or for in principle positionnings, generally emanating from global actors who have turned their back on their historical European roots and/or are advocates of a liberal Europe and a generally very open market, the issue of a type or certain degree of European protectionism, whether based on environmental criteria or otherwise, is a growing debate that will take on legitimate importance in the forthcoming elections. In essence, this issue goes far beyond the automotive sector.




While the EV industrial revolution has clearly started in China and the United States, there is no time for Europeans to procrastinate: they must join the competition. Not only is the climate at stake, but also their technological independence, their economic prosperity and the resilience of the European social model. Rather than causing delays by stirring up controversies that are essentially outdated, or defending very short-termist national interests, Europeans  must now create the conditions for an ambitious, coherent and effective industrial transition regulatory framework. This is the natural extension of the Green Deal and the best way to turn it into a policy of sovereignty and power. In the current election campaign, those who try to mobilize voters around the concept of preserving the status quo, or to reduce ambitions on the calendar or the objectives, in fact run the risk of forcing Europe into technological and industrial decline. Contrary to their claims, a Green Deal as incepted above is a positive driver for industrial development, and not an enemy of such progress.