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

The French government has unveiled changes to the rules about the how the level of financial aid to buy an electric vehicle will be calculated


France is set to tighten 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.

In October 2022, President Emmanuel Macron said: "Because we want to make the electric car accessible to everyone, we are going to increase 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 - €7,000 being the maximum amount available. 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.

Listen to our discussing on electric cars and the problems of transport in rural France in the latest episiode of the Talking France podcast.


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, will be updated. And, from October 10, 2023, the ecological bonus will be conditional, for new electric cars, on achieving a minimum environmental score. This will be calculated in particular by taking into account the environmental impact of the manufacture of the vehicle.

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

Bonus écologique

The current cap on grants is €6,000, but that will rise to €7,000 from January 2023.

Previously, only the greenhouse gas emissions caused by the vehicle on the road were taken into consideration. But, from October 10th, 2023, car manufacturers will have to 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 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


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