France halts subsidized EV lease program after strong demand

France halts subsidized EV lease program after strong demand

Automotive News Europe — 2024-02-12

Automotive Industry

The French government is halting for the rest of this year a program to subsidize low earners leasing an electric car, after demand far exceeded initial plans.

Under the program, people on less than €15,400  ($16,600) of annual income have since the start of 2024 been able to lease an electric vehicle for €100 to €150 a month.

The government launched the program to boost demand for EVs among people who otherwise could not afford them.

It was originally intended to go live earlier but was pushed back to the start of this year because French automakers were not ready with enough eligible vehicles.

The government had budgeted €1.5 bn ($1.6 bn) to offer 20,000 leases under the program this year, but after huge demand it said on Monday that it was upping that to 50,000 this year before resuming it again next year.

The government is also offering car buyers a cash incentive of between €5,000 and €7,000 to get more EVs on the road, at a total cost of €1 bn per year.

To be eligible for both programs, vehicles have to meet limits on how much carbon was produced in their manufacturing and shipping -- a measure designed to ensure cheap Chinese-made vehicles do not qualify.

The list of eligible models includes 24 produced by Stellantis and five by Renault. The Tesla Model Y is eligible, but not its Model 3.

Dacia, Renault's low-cost Renault, saw its Spring model imported from China excluded from the list.