Low Emission Zones (ZFE): the second social bomb in the automotive industry

What highlights do you retain from this study on EPZs that you participated in with the Association Eco Entretien and the CSA Institute?

Frank Cazenave: First of all, there is a lack of knowledge about EPZs: While 84% of French people have heard of them, only 37% give the correct definition. To put it bluntly, if 52% of French people know Crit’Air, they are only 29% to give the good Crit’Air of their car. Worse from the ZFE perspective, 14% of Crit’Air 4 and 5 vehicle owners know their Crit’Air!

>> TO READ THE SURVEY: ZFE (Low Emission Zones): 36% of French people do not have the financial means to change cars

Paradoxically, the study also reveals that the French are not opponents of EPZs?

Once we have explained the environmental objectives pursued by ZFEs, 57% of French people are in favor of them. More interestingly, 54% of French people affected by this rule are in favor of it. Ecological awareness is a fundamental trend. But the crux of the problem is another place: People want to change cars, but financially they can’t. They do not have the money for that.

“With EPZs, repression is not the answer”

Your study also shows that the budgets available for cars are very tight for most French people, right?

36% of French people have no budget to change cars. 27% of French people can spend 3,990 euros on changing cars. At this level, we are therefore within the framework of Crit’Air 1 UVs, which are mainly exchanged from individual to individual. In addition, 23% can set aside between 9,990 and 20,000 euros to change cars. We did not choose the threshold of 9,990 euros at random, this is the basic price of a new petrol Dacia Sandero and therefore Crit’Air 1. We can also add that only one 100% electric vehicle appears in this price range, Dacia Spring, otherwise produced in China . At this point, two lessons stand out. On the one hand, for most people, the vehicle remains at its primary function as travel. On the other hand, with EPZs, repression is not the answer. Should we punish, punish financially, people who simply do not have the means to adapt to EPZs? That would be both unfair and explosive.

A budget bracket: only 14 % of French people have 20 000 euros or more to change car. In the current situation, does this mean that electric vehicles (Crit’Air 0) are not an appropriate response to reality? ?

I have nothing to add and I have nothing against the electric car, but the numbers speak for themselves.

“Today we are talking about changing 12 million cars! »

Yes, but what solutions can you suggest? ? In terms of effort, we can not just say that it is insoluble ?

In France, there are 15 million Crit’Air 3, 4 and 5 cars on the roads. It is almost 40% of the fleet that will be penalized in the short term by the ZFEs, in the short term, by 31 December 2024. We were also able to measure that 80% of the owners of these vehicles should have access to the EPZs in their region, ie 12 million vehicles. All this to say that a massive solution is needed and to suggest answers to the scale of the problem posed.

“Do not be afraid to say that it is solidarity that will partly fund the renewal of vehicles”

Specifically, what do you recommend?

First of all, we need to help the 63% of affected French people who can spend between 0 and 3,990 euros to change vehicles. They must be offered a scrapping bonus of 4,000 euros, valid for a used vehicle Crit’Air 1 or 2 depending on their ZFE. This makes it possible to scrap the Crit’Air 4 and 5 cars, which are the oldest and often the ones that consume the most. We are therefore talking about a real effort from the community, but we should not be afraid to say that it is solidarity that must finance these vehicles. Furthermore, for Crit’Air 3 vehicles, if their owners perform eco-maintenance, injector cleaning, pollution control, etc., they must be granted an annual exemption that can be renewed twice, bringing the affected French to the horizon 2027 and giving them time. Finally, we see that 25% of the French concerned are ready to take public transport if the offer is satisfactory. It is therefore necessary to invest in developing solutions adapted to all environments, both urban and rural, and the road must be given priority because it is the finest network and the most flexible solution. This opens up opportunities for autonomous shuttle services and robotic taxi services in particular.

What do you say to those who will object that we need to change the paradigm, that we need to favor cycling, for example ?

I do not want to create controversy, that is really not the point. I’m very much in favor of cycling, but let’s stick to the facts. The French use their car for homework, which is sometimes long. They need more places to drop off their kids at school, take them to their leisure activities, etc. The bike will evolve, but it is not a strict alternative to the car.

Note Bene : Franck Cazenave is an expert in mobility and smart cities. We also owe him several books, including “Stop Google”and quite recently “Robomobilen” (Editions Descartes & Cie).

>> SEE ALSO: Franck Cazenave: “Almost 50% of vehicles will be banned from driving in ZFEs by 2025”

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