EXPLAINED: The financial aid available to buy an electric car in France

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EXPLAINED: The financial aid available to buy an electric car in France

Here is how you can get state aid if you are looking to buy an electric vehicle in France


France has tightened up its calculations for state aid for anyone looking to buy an electric vehicle - taking battery size, materials used in the vehicle's manufacture and even how it was transported to dealerships into consideration for calculating levels of financing - rather than simply CO2 emissions.

That being said, households can benefit from greater assistance when purchasing an electric car - President Emmanuel Macron announced an increase in the maximum amount of the ecological bonus from €6,000 to €7,000 for half of [France’s] households.

The Bonus écologique (ecological bonus) applies to the purchase of an electric vehicle costing less than €47,000. The government estimates that around half of households will be eligible for the maximum amount.


According to the Comité des constructeurs français d'automobiles (CCFA) 162,106 electric cars were first registered in France in 2021 - up from 110,916 in 2020, and 42,763 in 2019. A total 93,344 electric cars first registered in the first half of 2022. In 2010, just 180 electric cars were registered in France.

To support the expected increase in electric vehicles on French roads, the number of charging points will also rise - but installations are currently behind schedule. There should have been 100,000 publicly available charging points (known as bornes) across France at the end of 2022. There were around 72,000.

This, however, wasn't a major problem, as it turned out that most people who owned an electric vehicle were able to charge them at home.


In October 2023, however, the government announced that the list of electric car models allowing individuals and professionals to benefit from state aid, for their purchase or rental, would be updated.

You can find the preliminary list of eligible vehicles for 2024 here, the final version of the list was set to be announced on December 15th, 2023.

This is how the bonus écologique - and other aid to buy greener vehicles - works.

Bonus écologique

The cap on grants was €7,000, as of January 2023.

New electric vehicles were also required, as of October 2023, to obtain an 'environmental score' of at least 60 points.

Previously, only the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the vehicle on the road were taken into consideration. But the new rule requires that car manufacturers submit a detailed file to France's Agence de l’environnement et de la maîtrise de l’énergie (Ademe), which will then assign an 'environmental score' to each make, model and battery type of car, taking into account in particular:

  • materials used (steel, aluminum, ferrous metals, etc.) for the manufacture of the vehicle;
  • CO2 emissions linked to the energy used in vehicle assembly;
  • CO2 emissions linked to battery production;
  • delivery of the car, including means of transport used (boat, train, truck, etc) from the assembly site to the distribution site in France.

Under the terms of the decree, previous eligibility criteria will still apply for vehicles that have already been ordered, or for which a rental contract has or will be signed before close of business on December 15th 2023, provided that invoicing or the payment of the first rent takes place on March 15, 2024.

The amount of aid depends on the cost of the vehicle - up to the €47,000 maximum - and amounts to 27 percent of the total purchase price, up to the cap amount. 

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 weigh 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.

The €47,000 cap means that a Tesla is probably out of bounds, but the electric Renault Zoe sells from €33,000. 

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.

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.

Further information is available from the government website Je Change Ma Voiture

'Social' leasing scheme

Starting in 2024, motorists on low incomes in France will be able to apply to lease an electric vehicle for approximately €100 per month.

Several different car models will be available for participants to choose from, including the Renault Megane E-Tech and the Citroën e-C4.

The scheme will be means-tested and it will initially prioritise those who rely heavily on their vehicles to get to and from work.



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