A car executive challenges, for the first time, the European decarbonization strategy.

It is Carlos Tavares, the boss of the mega-group Stellantis, who says it in an interview with four European media, including in France Les Echos. Stellantis, we remind you, these are 14 brands, including Peugeot, Citroën, Fiat, Chrysler, Opel, Alga Romeo, Jeep and many others. In interrogative form but in reality very transparent, he expresses reservations about the choice made by Europe to advance by forced marches towards the electric car, with the ban on selling new 100% thermal or hybrid vehicles in a little more ten years, in 2035. This date was chosen by the European Commission last July, it is now on the table of the Twenty-Seven Member States – but it is very unlikely that it will change. Carlos Tavares advances three arguments. One: climate efficiency. In his eyes, it would have been more effective to help the owners of old polluting cars to buy now and permanently new less polluting vehicles, including hybrids. While equipping the fleet with electricity will be very slow, if only because it is expensive, very expensive. Moreover, given the way electricity is produced in Europe (with renewable energies but also coal and gas, except in France) and given the carbon footprint of batteries, an electric car, says Tavares, n It has a better balance than a thermal after 70,000 kms. This is the first argument, climatic. Second argument: the middle classes will be excluded from the new market, reserved for wealthy households, the upper social classes. Finally, three: the speed of the changeover, he speaks of brutality, will have harsh social and industrial effects for the 14 million employees in the sector. These warnings issued, Tavares says all the same that Stellantis will be on track, its brands will stop thermals from 2030. So why this warning? We must not complain about spilled milk: this is the message sent to political leaders by one of the most important European manufacturers. The leader also fears that the purchase bonuses, conversion aids and other boosts will disappear when the budgetary frosts return. Of course, we can consider all this to be lobbying (and we’re right: it is), but a business leader who comes out of the woodwork and says what he thinks is rare enough to let’s listen to it – I think.