France continues to fuel “le EV révolution”

  • 2023 in France: 26% of new rides went electric, a 47% leap from 2022.
  • Tesla ruled the road with the Model 3 and Model Y, but the game’s shifting with stricter incentives, booting out Chinese models and Tesla’s very own Model 3.
  • France unveils a new social leasing programme, making EVs accessible at €100/month. Initially, it’s limited to 20,000-25,000 applications, with potential for future expansion.

France keeps the EV revolution charged and ready with a relentless surge in sales

The French automotive scene witnessed a notable shift last year, with EVs gaining ground. New, more affordable EVs rolled onto the scene, backed by some inviting government incentives. The result? 26% of the new cars cruising the streets of France were either battery electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles, marking a substantial 47% increase compared to 2022.

According to Plateforme automobile and RFI, 26% of new cars sold in France in 2023 were electric or plug-in hybrids, totalling 1,774,729 vehicles. In 2022, only 17% of new cars were electric. Plug-in hybrids accounted for 9% of the total sales.

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While petrol-guzzlers comprise over a third of the market, there’s a silver lining in the clouds of exhaust. Diesel is declining, accounting for only one in 10 new cars sold in 2023. The shift away from diesel signals a notable transformation in consumer preferences, reflecting a growing awareness and adoption of more eco-friendly alternatives in the French automotive landscape.

Unsurprisingly, Tesla maintained its leading position as the unchallenged champion in the French and European EV space, reigning supreme with the ever-popular Model 3 and Model Y SUV. However, a shift is on the horizon, with stricter incentives, excluding Chinese-made models and even singling out Tesla’s flagship, the Model 3. The landscape, once firmly dominated by Tesla, now faces a potential challenge as these stringent measures come into play, hinting at a potential reshuffling of the EV hierarchy. Stay tuned. 

France’s green bonus, once a straightforward €5,000 cash incentive (€7,000 for lower-income families) applicable to all EVs, has undergone a significant transformation for this year. The revised rules now scrutinise, not just the end product, but the entire production and life cycle of the car. This strategic move aims to exclude Chinese and foreign-made vehicles with substantial CO2 emissions in their manufacturing process.

This adjustment has ramifications, impacting popular models previously eligible for incentives. The Chinese-manufactured Dacia Spring, constituting 1 in 10 electric cars sold in France, finds itself disqualified. Similarly, Tesla’s Model 3 faces exclusion, given that European-bound units originate from Tesla’s Shanghai factory. However, the Model Y, the world’s most popular electric vehicle, maintains eligibility due to its assembly in Germany. 

France has also rolled out a groundbreaking social leasing initiative, enabling lower-income individuals to lease electric cars from just €40 per month, complete with no upfront payment and, in certain instances, up to six months of complimentary charging. Although currently restricted to 20,000 to 25,000 applications, there are intentions to broaden the programme, signalling a promising step toward fostering wider EV accessibility.

In the fast lane to an electrified future, France isn’t just talking green – it’s putting pedal to the metal. Initiatives like the new social leasing programme underscore its commitment to inclusivity, and with a firm eye on the future, the nation has set an ambitious goal of producing over 1 million electric vehicles by 2027. The revolution is charging ahead, and France is pushing for pole position in the electric future.

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