French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that a €100 per month electric vehicle (EV) leasing scheme is to be introduced in France from November as part of the country’s climate action strategy.
The announcement is part of a broader government strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 5% annually, with the aim of a 55% reduction by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
“From November, we will be able to roll out a new electric car leasing scheme,” Macron said, with “a few tens of thousands of cars” made accessible in 2024, and the scheme is expected to grow in size and scope in future years, however at least initially, only EU-made cars will be eligible.
The scheme is aimed to help poorer households, in an effort to shift mobility habits from combustion cars to electric models. France, alongside all other EU member states, agreed to ban the sale of new CO2-emitting cars from 2035.
“We want this scheme to give people access to electric cars made in Europe,” the President added, highlighting the risk that major third-country players, the biggest of which is China, will otherwise flood the French markets.
France, home to carmaker behemoths Renault and Stellantis, is keeping a close eye on China, which has gained significant EU market shares in the past few years. With Chinese brands having attained 8% of the EU’s electric vehicle market in 2022, European Commission data shows that they could increase it to 15% by 2025.
EVs eligible under the new plan will also need to comply with France’s revisited ‘green bonus’ rules, which provide cash incentives to first-time EV buyers if overall car production emissions remain under a certain threshold – in an effort to make Chinese cars less financially attractive.
This new EV leasing announcement is part of a “social ecology plan,” to make EU-made EVs cheaper, French Transport Minister Clément Beaune told public radio broadcaster France inter on Tuesday, whilst at the same time reinforcing “ecological sovereignty”.
According to the consultancy Ptolemus Consulting Group, Chinese EV prices in China dropped by around 50% between 2015 and 2022, from €67,000 to €32,000. European EV prices, on the other hand, went up 17% in the same period, from just under €49,000 to over €55,000, putting them out of reach of many ordinary Europeans.
In practice, carmakers MG, Dacia and Fiat, which all have under €100 per month leasing offers in France, will be left out of this scheme as their fleet is China-made, expert news outlet Numerama found.
France has committed to producing over one million EVs by the end of Macron’s term in office in 2027. To achieve this goal, the government will launch “a major inventory of French mining resources”, Macron said on Monday – as a number of critical raw materials, including lithium, are necessary for electric battery production.