Yesterday I learned a word.
A rare term for a (too) common behavior, which evokes the cognitive bias theorized by the two American psychologists who gave it its name: the effect Dunning-Kruger (or overconfidence effect) describes the behavior whereby individuals who are less qualified on a given subject overestimate their ability, while experts are plagued by doubt.
Hang on tight, because that word is ultracrepidarianism.
Ultracrepidarianism (to be repeated ten times without stammering) refers to the attitude of those who give their opinion on a subject for which they have no competence. A convoluted noun, to say the least, which has its origin in the locution Sutor, ne supra crepidam, that the distinguished Latinists among you will have immediately translated as: “Shoemaker, no higher than the shoe“. In Molière 21st century version, it gives”To each his own job, and the cows will be well looked after“. But it was in English that ultracrepidarianism was born, invented by the Irish-British writer. William Hazlitt, in homage to a literary critic whom he probably never invited for tea.
Well done if you knew it, because I still had to teach it to the Wordien spell checker, who underlined it with red zigzags. I would have appreciated to meet him earlier, as he adequately verbalizes the posture of a certain number of frequenters of more or less social networks on a subject that has been preoccupying us for some time. A subject on which I observe them with dismay, and – I admit – a little voyeurism, slashing with great blows of peremptory statements, abusive interpretations, sophisms and other fake news. A subject of the greatest importance, since we are told that on it depends the future of humanity.
I am of course referring to the electric car.
You too have surely witnessed these skirmishes, which are all the more violent as they occur from a distance. Clashes which in my eyes constitute irrefutable proof that we are living in this matter a real crisis of faith, where the bad competes with the good. Without prejudging moreover which one is better than the other, since of the first Machiavelli considered that it is essential to “whoever wants from a mediocre state to rise to the greatest power”, while the second nourishes these intentions of which they say hell is paved.
Anyway, I too decided to join in the debates, not being the man to stay on heartburn. But as I obviously could not practice what I denounce, do not wait until I take a definitive position. What I am proposing to you is therefore a little review of fallacies, whether they emanate from the “pro” or “anti” of the electric car.
“The electric car is modernity”
April 19, 1881, rue de Valois in Paris, Gustave Found the aptly named was successfully testing a trike powered by the small Siemens electric motor that he himself had improved. In the history of motorized individual mobility, the electric car therefore preceded its thermal engine cousin, which was not germane as Mr. Benz and his tricycle would like to make us believe, but very French since built by Mr. Delamare-Deboutteville in 1884.
The conclusion is therefore obvious: modernity is the car, electric or not. Something that man has dreamed of for centuries, but invented less than 150 years ago. By recalling in passing that the first automobile to have exceeded 100 km / h on May 1, 1899 (so exactly 122 years ago) was a kind of roller torpedo equipped with two electric motors of 25 kW each, called “the never happy “.
“The electric car is an old idea that has not succeeded”
Obviously, the camp opposite will not fail to rush into the breach. And one would be tempted to agree with him, considering that at the beginning of the 20th century, the meager automobile fleet existing in the world was propelled in roughly equal proportions by steam, petroleum gasoline, and electricity. And it’s true, liquid fuel ends up winning in its higher energy density, under the equation “weight carried vs. energy returned”. Yes, but.
Apart from poor golf carts, electric cars have sunk into oblivion, being consequently deprived of the good hundred years of development to which oil tanks were entitled. With all due respect to the conservatives, it therefore seems legitimate to finally give them a chance, by not pretending to ignore either the progress made since by the batteries, nor the appearance of electronics.
“The electric car is clean”
The expression “clean car” perfectly illustrates the power of words. It reminds me of those sodas without sugars but with a sweet taste, which free the conscience but encourage us to consume the calories that we have not drunk elsewhere. So let’s be clear: The only clean cars are those that come out of the Blue Elephant.
Because an electric car is nonetheless a car, and it also distils its share of particles from the brake pads and the rubber from which we make the tires into the atmosphere. of all emissions in use, an advantage that is certainly far from being negligible, its production and recycling are not the most virtuous, because of the materials that make up its batteries.
Remembering that just about all human activities pollute, from buttering toast to brushing teeth, through holidays in the mountains or writing and even reading this column. But it would be good to remember that a new car today, regardless of the energy it consumes, rejects infinitely less than those of 50, 30 or even 10 years ago. History to give oneself the desire to continue to progress.
“The electric car pollutes more than the thermal car”
It is well known that the best defense is attack.
However, I challenge the peremptory of service to prove this assertion. And as I also know Googling, no need to give me the link of I do not know what study, to which it will be easy to oppose another apparently just as credible, but showing exactly the opposite. So to those – the vast majority of us – who do not have the knowledge to delve into equations, statistical models and other such calculations that are going well, I recommend rereading the definition of ultracrepidarianism in beginning of text, and to admit that our convictions are often founded on desires.
Especially since the question probably does not support a single answer, which undoubtedly depends on a bunch of parameters between the type of model taken into account and their use, the energy matrix of the country considered, the age of the driver and I don’t really know what else.
“The autonomy of electric cars is largely sufficient”
For 95% of the journeys of a good number of motorists, the 395 km WLTP of autonomy displayed by Renault for its Zoe are largely dimensioned, even if halved in extreme cold and headwind. Except that it is the remaining 5% that sizing the specifications of the single or main car of a household, when Dad, Mum, the kids and the cat find themselves on board with the luggage during weekend departures or on holiday. If this weren’t the case, we would all be riding Smart Fortwo EQ!
This makes the electric car an excellent second car, as attested by 2/3 of its owners in France, who are multi-motorized. Mazda – which definitely does nothing like everyone else – has also endorsed it, by equipping its MX-30 compact SUV with a battery of barely 35.5 kWh (compared to 52 for Miss Zoe) in order to contain overweight gain and cost. The result is an EV that fully assumes its urban vocation with its 200 km of WLTP autonomy (undoubtedly 120 real ones), without chasing a value that risks being in the end both too much and not enough. But it is all the same a strange world that one where coexist a compact with city dimensions capable of escaping the urban perimeter and a family SUV which does not aspire to leave it.
The electric car generates child labor
There, I don’t want to laugh at all. Because we are talking about kids who work and sometimes die in the cobalt mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country which holds 60% of the world’s reserves of the rare metal used in the composition of batteries. Some take the opportunity to post photos of emaciated children, in support of their anti-electric car speech. Well I’ll give you my ticket that these people had never previously cared about their fate, nor did they rush to their checkbook to donate to an NGO, or worry about the origin of the components of their phone or laptop.
Certainly, the growth of the electric vehicle market translates into an increased demand for cobalt which could make the plight of these children worse, if we do not make sure that, on the contrary, it draws attention to them. But the electric car can obviously not be held responsible for our choices or their absence in this area, and the use of these children to affirm the contrary is nothing more or less a manipulation without scruples.
The electric car is now affordable
12,403 euros only! This is what it will cost you from now on to enter the world of electric motorization thanks to Dacia and its Spring, which therefore put it within reach of all budgets. Good, with all the same a little help from fellow taxpayers to the tune of 4,787 euros. Not to mention that at the price of a mid-range Sandero or the base Duster, you bring home a Kwid, which is the cheapest car available on the Brazilian market.
Finally, some will point out that the most affordable electric on the market is made in China, which does not help the carbon footprint of the machine, nor our trade balance. However, far from me the idea of denouncing the initiative of Dacia which undoubtedly claims with its Spring to cause a leap forward in the electric market. But something tells me all the same that the popular gasoline-powered cars don’t have to worry too much right now.
The electric car is not fun
There, Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan owners have a laugh, although they obviously won’t make much noise. So take the Peugeot e-208 instead, and tell me what the electric version does to its carbon colleagues on the matter. Unless the sweet sound of the three-cylinder turbo enchants you so much, or you absolutely want to change gears by hand in traffic jams. Meanwhile, others will appreciate the abundant torque from the first rotation of the engine, and the acceleration sensations that go with it. Something tells me that electrics will be more and more fun to drive.
Electricity is for Parisian bobos
To assist their bike or scooter, without a doubt. But beware of the booze at the wheel, it is probably a fake. Especially that the owners of EV run on gasoline and even – horror – on diesel. At least 2/3 of them, when they take their first car.
Well, you got it, I am actually campaigning for a more inclusive automotive world. Whoever sees thermal enthusiasts welcome EVs, remembering that a car is a car, whether it runs on petrol, or juice, or even if it is bi. But also a world where supporters of the EV accept the idea of an energy mix, on which several manufacturers seem to be working, between Volkswagen which is launching a new thermal platform, BMW which is not giving up the development of its piston engines. , and Porsche, which works on a synthetic fuel reducing CO2 emissions by 85%.
In short, ecumenism rather than the crisis of faith