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IN DETAIL: How to get financial help in France to buy a greener car

Three white Renault Zoe electric cars connected to streetside charging points
Photo: Gabriel BouysGABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)
The French government offers financial aid packages for people looking to buy less polluting vehicles, from vans and cars to bicycles. Here we look at the various grants.

Bonus écologique (ecological bonus)

Financial aid of up to €6,000 is available towards the purchase or rental of a new electric or rechargeable hybrid vehicle with CO2 emissions of no more than 50 g/km.

The amount of aid depends on the cost of the vehicle, and amounts to 27 percent of the total purchase price up to that €6,000 cap. 

Fully electric vehicles are eligible for higher grants – and, although the aid is not means-tested, the level of grant falls as prices rise to weight it in favour of lower-income households. So, for an electric vehicle costing about €20,000 a grant of €5,400 would be available, while for one between €45,000 and €60,000 the bonus is limited to about €2,000.

Over the €60,000 limit, only hydrogen-powered vehicles are eligible.

For a plug-in hybrid vehicle for less than €50,000 that can drive at least 50 kilometres on 100% electric, the purchaser benefits from a €1,000 euros bonus. 

Aid of up to €1,000 is available for second-hand vehicles.

One final point: you must keep the vehicle for at least six months and drive at least 6,000 kilometres after purchase or lease before you can sell on the vehicle. 

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Prime à la conversion (Conversion bonus)

This bonus is available in addition to the bonus écologique for those who scrap their older vehicle when they buy a newer less-polluting one. In order to benefit from this, the scrapped vehicle must have been registered before 2006 for petrol vehicles and before 2011 for diesel ones.

This aid is means-tested. In order to see if you benefit, and how much you may receive, the government has set up an online simulation

The maximum scrapping bonus for those buying an electric or rechargeable hybrid vehicle with an electric range of over 50km is €5,000. For a more modern, less-polluting thermal-engined vehicle or a hybrid with a lower electric range, the cap is set at €3,000.

Like the ecological bonus, you must keep the vehicle for at least six months and drive at least 6,000 kilometres after purchase or lease before you can sell-on the vehicle.

Prime au rétrofit électrique (retrofit bonus)

Less well-known in France, but approved professionals are permitted to transform combustion-engine vehicles to electric ones.

And there’s means-tested help to pay for the cost of conversion – so, if you’re attached to your vehicle for any reason, or can’t afford a new vehicle, this may be a way forward.

Once again, you must keep the vehicle for at least six months and drive at least 6,000 kilometres after purchase or lease before you can sell-on the vehicle.

Local subsidies

In addition to government grants, many local grants are also available if you want to buy a less polluting vehicle. All national and local subsidies are listed here by the Ministry of Ecological Transition.

Two-wheelers

Electric motorbikes and scooters are also eligible for ecological bonuses under certain conditions, with the amount of aid dictated by the power of the engine. For full details, click here

Electric bicycle

For those who, maybe, want to go greener still, one-time means-tested help – to a maximum of €1,000 – towards the purchase of an electric bicycle is also available.

Since July 2021, the bike bonus can be used to finance the purchase of a cargo bike. The bicycle bonus can cover up to 40 percent of the cost of acquiring this type of vehicle, up to the €1,000 limit.

The bike must be kept for at least one year after purchase before it can be sold on. Full details are available on the economie.gouv.fr website here.

Government-backed microloans

Lower-income households may also be eligible for a government-backed loan to help cover part of the purchase price of the eco-friendly vehicle. 

The scheme allows people with limited resources to buy or rent a low-polluting car or two-wheeler (bicycle, motorbike or electric scooter). Guaranteed at 50 percent by the State, the amount of the loan varies according to household income, up to € 5,000 repayable over five years. It can be combined with the ecological bonus and the conversion bonus.

Full details are available here


Member comments

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  1. Shame about the adverts from electric car manufacturers which promise sub 100 euro monthly rentals (LLD) but are only a scam to get punters into the dealers showrooms. When you are in they only want to sell cars and the deals disappear.

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