France is increasing subsidies for electromobility and has announced an electricity price brake for charging stations. In addition, the state fuel discount will be extended.

While the refinery strikes in France are entering their third week this Tuesday and almost a third of the country’s petrol stations are still suffering from a lack of fuel, Emmanuel Macron used the opening of the 89th Paris Motor Show on Monday to announce new state aid to promote electromobility .

From the French President’s point of view, there is no doubt that the increase in funds is necessary. “Electric cars are more expensive to buy,” he said in an interview with the business newspaper “Les Échos”, which was published in time for the start of the motor show. Macron apparently does not expect the price of electric cars to catch up with combustion models in the coming years, even without state money, and that the transformation will be market-driven.

As in Germany, there are currently up to 6,000 euros in subsidies available in France when buying an electric or hybrid car, plus manufacturer discounts. But while Berlin is reducing the funding to a maximum of 4,500 euros at the turn of the year, Macron now wants to raise it to 7,000 euros – for half of the households that earn the least.

One wants to make electric cars “accessible to everyone,” said the President. Further help is essential for this. Macron did the math: since he was elected president in 2017, the electrical subsidy has been paid out 700,000 times. The share of sales of cars with electric drives has increased from one to currently 13 percent during this period. According to current forecasts, it should be 30 percent at the end of his second term in 2027.

Leasing for 100 euros

According to the French government, the current energy crisis and economic downturn should not stop the electrification of the automotive industry. That is why she wants to put a stop to a further increase in electricity costs at the charging stations. The electricity price brake for households introduced in February of this year – suppliers may only increase the end customer price by a maximum of 4 percent until February 2023, for which the state compensates them – should not only affect companies such as bakeries with a maximum turnover of 2 million euros at the turn of the year, but also on charging stations are expanded.

The leasing offer for electric car users announced by Macron in the presidential election campaign is still being worked out. This suggests that the promise was made faster than the concrete implementation, because low-income households should be able to lease a car for as little as 100 euros a month. Macron promised first deliveries for early 2024. Which models should be available for whom exactly remains open.

This is also due to the fact that the French government would like to link the leasing offer with support for the domestic car industry, but the electric spring in question, among other things, from the cheap brand Dacia, which belongs to the Renault group, is produced in China, for example. According to Macron, state aid is also needed to promote car production made in Europe. In the future plan France 2030, he announced almost 5 billion euros in funding for this sector.

A treat for drivers

Macron emphasizes that this industrial policy has basically nothing else to do with the Americans and the Chinese. “We have to wake up,” he warned at the start of the Paris Motor Show and attested to a “very offensive strategy of state aid” for these two competing economic powers. The Europeans would have to counter it. For its part, France, whose annual car production has fallen from 4 to 1.3 to 1.5 million cars in the past 20 years, could create around one million electric vehicles a year by 2027 at the latest. In 2030 it should be two million.

Tailwind came at the Paris Motor Show, which observers believe has lost much of its importance as most non-French manufacturers stayed away, from the head of Opel’s parent company, Stellantis. Carlos Tavares announced on Monday that instead of the previous six, twelve electric vehicles will be produced in France “shortly”. Competitor Renault positions itself no differently. He wants to build the “largest and most competitive production center for electric vehicles in Europe” in the “Electricity” group of the northern French factories Douai, Maubeuge and Ruitz.

French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne had meanwhile announced a treat for motorists with combustion engines plagued by a lack of fuel on Sunday evening. For example, the state fuel discount of 30 cents per liter of petrol and diesel is not supposed to drop to 10 cents on November 1st, but only in mid-November. The energy group Totalenergies is currently granting an additional 20 cents in tank discounts at its French filling stations.

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