Urban 4x4s have seen their sales increase sevenfold over the last decade in France, and the trend indicates that the majority of the fleet could be made up of SUVs if the curves are not reversed. WWF is sounding the alarm, even for electric vehicles.
Every two years, the average French vehicle lengthens by one centimeter and takes 10 kilos. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is relaying a campaign pointing out the aberration of SUVs, which are more expensive, heavier and more polluting than a standard car.
200 kg more, and 25 additional centimeters
SUVs are in tune with the times, even when it comes to electric vehicles. However, according to the WWF, this trend is not good. In fact, in addition to consumption estimated at 15% more than a standard car, insurance costs and the cost of tires are also higher.
Within 15 years, again according to the NGO campaign, low-income households wanting an SUV will have to pay 408 euros more per year compared to a standard vehicle. The higher driving position inspiring a false sense of security is also singled out: indeed, despite appearances, an SUV driver is not only more likely to have an accident than with a conventional car, but there is also has a higher risk of death for pedestrians who are struck.
Advertising singled out
More than 40% of the advertising budget of the automotive industry in France was spent to promote SUVs in 2019. This represents 1.8 billion euros, against 1.2 billion for the promotion of city cars.
At a time when the emphasis is on preserving the environment and minimizing the harmful impacts of the automobile, it seems absurd, according to the WWF, to continue to highlight vehicles that are too heavy, too big and too polluting for cities.
Electric SUVs, a false solution according to WWF
The WWF study indicates that without a decrease in SUV sales for the coming decade, the electrification of the fleet will not allow France to comply with climate objectives. In this regard, the organization explains that “ just because a car is electric does not mean that it has no carbon footprint. The heavier a car, the more material it takes to manufacture it, and the more CO2 it emits. ».
For an electric car (which emits very little CO2 while driving), the emissions linked to the manufacturing and end-of-life stages represent around 80% of its carbon footprint. Large SUVs, even electric ones, therefore emit more CO2 than if they had preferred lighter models.
Today at 38% market share, it is necessary to reduce SUV sales below 10%, otherwise the objective given to the Paris Agreements will not be achievable.
Sustainable mobility, combining transport sobriety with an overall reduction in emissions from each vehicle, would be the only long-term solution according to the WWF study. Travel less, and other than by private car, would halve the carbon footprint of vehicles sold. To do this, the NGO calls on politicians and expects strong proposals from them to move towards sustainable mobility.