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Electric Vehicles in France

If you’re enthusiastic to hire a car that leaves the smallest carbon footprint possible, you will find that France is fully equipped to support electric cars. In Europe, France has always been trying to improve the level of technology to provide the best and affordable vehicles. The French car manufacturers have always paid attention to the practicality and commonality of cars. Furthermore, the EV's revolution invites itself with the last electric and hybrid models. I think you agree with me that it is a good opportunity for us to gain some information about EVs trend in France, especially in recent years, in the following.

The French government has announced plans to provide some of the most generous incentives of any country to purchase an electric vehicle. Buyers could be eligible to receive up to 12,000 euros ($13,150). "This is a historic plan to confront a historic situation," French President Emmanuel Macron described when he outlined the incentives as part of an 8 billion-euro rescue plan for the country's auto industry. France is setting aside more than 1.3 billion of the sum for incentives. The incentives will bring down the price of a battery-electric vehicle by nearly 40 percent in some cases. For example, a Renault Zoe that costs 32,000 euros would be 20,000 euros under the most generous case, in which the owner of an older diesel car receives a bonus of 5,000 euros for scrapping it and 7,000 euros toward buying a new electric vehicle. Nearly all European countries now offer a combination of incentives for low-emissions vehicles, including tax and registration breaks as well as bonus payments, but the French plan outstrips most of them. Macron set an ambitious target of one million EVs produced annually in France by 2025, and the incentives are designed to stimulate domestic demand. Renault and PSA Group have already pledged to increase production, with a full-electric version of the next generation Peugeot 3008 to be built in France, and Renault setting production of two new EVs by 2022. The incentives announced by Macron will follow two tracks, one for scrapping older vehicles for cleaner, newer models and one for the purchase of new EVs and plug-in hybrids. (1)

The incentives mean that (1):

  • A 6,000-euro government bonus for the purchase of a new EV (costing up to 45,000 euros) will be raised to 7,000 euros until the end of the year.

  • Business and fleet buyers can receive 5,000 euros for an EV.

  • Plug-in hybrids that cost up to 50,000 euros and have an electric range of at least a 50-km will get a 2,000-euro bonus.

When the French government announced the plan, it cited some case studies to show that low-emission cars are affordable for working-class families. The buyer of the Zoe who receives 12,000 euros in bonus would have monthly payments of 200 euros, after a 10,000 euro down payment. In addition, they would save 400 euros a year on fuel -- and would remove one ton of CO2 and 5.5 kg of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the air. Starting June 1 until the end of this year, the "conversion prime" for buyers who turn in older vehicles will be doubled, to 5,000 euros to buy an EV or plug-in hybrid (with at least 50 km of battery-only range), and 3,000 euros for an internal-combustion engine car, so long as they meet the newest emission standards. Half of all vehicles now on French roads will be eligible, generally gasoline cars registered before 2006 and diesel cars registered before 2011.

In addition, income limits to participate in the program will be relaxed so that 75 percent of French households will be eligible. The government is expecting to fund about 200,000 purchases under the program at a total cost of 800 million euros. In a specific example cited by the government, the owner of a 2003 gasoline powered small car could buy a used 2016 Toyota Yaris hybrid for 9,400 euros, with a 3,000-euro trade-in bonus reducing that price to 6,400 euros. The hybrid Yaris would reduce fuel costs by 450 euros a year and remove 0.7 tons of CO2 and 0.8 kg of NOx from the air. (1)

In the private sector, Renault understood the electric vehicles are changing the way. With the development of "Zero Emissions" (ZE), some classic models have been adapted into electric cars. The Kangoo, the Twizy, or the ZOE are more popular than the Renault Fluence or the Renault Master. The models vary based on your personal use. Unlike the Twizy, you couldn't drive in the narrow streets with the Master, a lorry.

Contrary to the car concepts from the new EZ style too, the Z.E models are used as public transports such as the French postal services or the administrations. (2)

The tiny EV's attempt could be a success. Known as the former Heuliez Friendly, an electric prototype designed and constructed through the former motoring manufactory, Heuliez, the brand had divided his commercial businesses. Produced in 2011, the identical year as the Renault Z.E models, the Heuliez Friendly was rebaptised Mia. The three seats' car was conceived with a low autonomy (80-90 km). It could be explaining the bankruptcy of the car maker in a tense EV market. (2)

In addition, it is noticeable to mention the micro-car that was equipped with a lithium iron phosphate battery (LiFePO4) to replace the traditional lithium batteries which are criticized for the lack of autonomy. The Mia was one of the smallest EVs on the European market. Three others models were being released in the 2010s. The Mia Paris (2011) represented the Parisian luxury style. The miAmore (2012) was inspired by the Italian style without forgetting the Mia U "Blue Star", a special bicolored edition. (2) On the other hand, the Renault's serious competitors have managed to launch three models in the world: The Peugeot iOn and the Citroën C-Zero could be considered as the most affordable cars on EV's market. You can buy one for 29,000 euros or a second-hand one for 12,000 euros only. (2) Also, The Mitsubishi has the same popularity like its two French sisters. Unlike the Tesla or the Audi E-Tron, the autonomy of these models can't reach 150 km. You should wait 6 hours before driving them again at the charging points. (2)

Another matter relates to the charging stations. There are plenty of points where you can recharge your hire car, including superchargers at Tesla dealerships if you’ve got a Tesla. In general, you’ll find the majority of charging points in France are located in cities and larger towns. Look out for points near big hotels, shopping centers, supermarkets, tourist attractions, large public carparks, and service stations. As some charging stations are only suitable for certain electric vehicles, it’s important that you ask about the charging compatibility of your hire car when you pick it up. Remember charging your EV can take time so you’ll need to account for longer rest stops than you would in a petrol or diesel car. Planning these overnight or around meals are two time-saving solutions. There are several apps you can use which tell you the locations of the closest EV charging points. The most popular are Chargemap, Plug Share and Izivia – you can register your vehicle before or at the beginning of your trip to make payments easier. (3)

In sum, each country has the imagination to produce electric vehicles and spread them among the users in order to get their benefits in varied aspects of the new format of life. As you observe today, France as a premiere country that has been doing its best to utilize the significant capacity of EVs in its transportation fleet has enormous goals for the near future of this industry. Undoubtedly, by continuing this way that has chosen by the government and the private companies, reaching those goals will not be impossible in a short time.






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