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ENVIRONMENT

IN DETAIL: How to get financial help in France to buy an electric car

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.

Three white Renault Zoe electric cars connected to streetside charging points
Photo: Gabriel BouysGABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

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. 

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

  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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STRIKES

French train services cancelled on Wednesday after unions continue strike

Travelling by rail in France is set to remain disrupted on Wednesday, as two major unions decide to extend Tuesday's strike action again pension reforms.

French train services cancelled on Wednesday after unions continue strike

Two major unions representing rail workers announced plans on Tuesday evening to extend their strike action into Wednesday, forcing rail operators to cancel trains.

The unions CGT-Cheminots and SUD-Rail called for more walkouts in protest against the government’s planned pension reform. 

According to France’s national rail service, SNCF, the strike action will lead to a delays and cancellations, with an average of two in three high-speed TGV trains continuing to run according to normal operating schedules. High-speed train operations in the east of the country will operate almost normally.

READ MORE: French protest pension reform again as unions threaten to step up action

As for other regions, two in three TGV trains in the north will run; half of trains in the west will run, and three in five trains in the south east will run.

The budget train operator Ouigo will also be affected, with two out of every three trains running on Wednesday.

The strike will also limit TER regional services to one in every two trains running, according to Franceinfo.

The SNCF website on Tuesday recommended that those who can cancel or postpone trips on Wednesday do so. If you believe your travel plans might be impacted by strike action, you can find more information at the SNCF website here.

As for the Paris region, normal services are expected on the RER A and B on Wednesday. The RER E will run two trains out of three, and half of RER C trains will run. The RER D will only have two in five trains running, and connection between Châtelet-les-Halles and Paris Gare de Lyon will be suspended.

READ MORE: 5 minutes to understand . . . French pension reform

Transilien operations may be disrupted, with the P and U lines running three out of four trains on average. Lines H, J and L will run two trains out of three. Half of the line N trains will run. Line R will run one train out of every five.

Intercité nighttime operations will not run, and daytime ones will see half of trains operational. 

International traffic may be disrupted on Wednesday as well. The Eurostar is expected to operate normally, and Thalys will be slightly disrupted. However, Lyria will run three out of five trains. 

Rail workers will not be the only ones continuing to strike on Wednesday. Oil refinery workers had already announced their intention to continue their 72-hour industrial action into February 8th.

READ MORE: Reader question: Will fuel supplies in France be hit by pension strikes?

You can keep up to date regarding strike action in France here

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