Up to 70,000 French jobs at risk from EU emissions rules, warns Renault boss

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Renault’s managing director in France has warned that new European emissions regulations could cost up to 70,000 jobs in France, although they will bring little benefit in the fight against climate change.

Luca de Meo made the prediction in an interview at the Financial Times Future of the Car 2022 conference on Monday as he justified Renault’s decision to seek delays in implementing new rules from Brussels.

“Speaking of the French environment and ecosystem, I think this particular transition will probably cost between 50,000 and 70,000 jobs,” he said.

De Meo fears job losses could result as the rules will potentially make cars more expensive, which could affect demand and lead to additional investment costs.

He added: “My position is that actually that sort of set of rules won’t be a huge benefit in terms of impact, but it will unnecessarily add a lot of cost to the car.”

The new rules, called Euro 7 regulations, are due to come into force in 2025 and will impose stricter limits on carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from petrol and diesel cars, vans, trucks and buses.

De Meo said that the money invested in reaching the Euro 7 standards, which have yet to be finalized and will replace the Euro 6 standards, could have been invested in the development of other clean technologies.

He added that a delay in the introduction of the new rules would reduce the damage caused in terms of potential job losses.

“We’re asking for some time to deal with this thing without creating collateral damage.”

De Meo was skeptical of a number of aspects of the transition to low-carbon vehicles.

For many drivers, even a large battery would only cover 85% of vehicle use, he said. As a result, motorists would be reluctant to buy the car because it would not cover long annual journeys of 600km or 700km.

If the total extraction of raw materials through manufacturing, distribution and eventual disposal of a product is included – the so-called “cradle-to-grave” carbon cost for vehicles – then, in some cases, gasoline-powered cars produced fewer carbon emissions over their lifetime, he mentioned.

“The choice to go all-electric for everyone and everywhere is not so obvious.”

If the rules made new vehicles more expensive, that might just incentivize customers to keep old cars, he added.

“We want to make sure people can still afford affordable new vehicles. If we don’t slow down regulation, people will continue to buy used cars and keep old cars on the road. »

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