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Now’s the time to buy ‘un véhicule électrique’ as France plans to cut subsidies

Sacre bleu!!

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They say that all good things must come to an end, and that looks like the case for French electric car buyers as the country’s government looks to cut subsidies.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the French government is going to gradually phase out the EV incentives over the next few years.

The incentive will drop from €7,000 ($8,160) this year, to €6,000 ($7,025) next year. It will drop another €1,000 in 2022, to €5,000. Plug-in hybrid cash handouts are being cut in half from €2,000 to €1,000 next year, too.

[Read: Google Maps is getting a UI for driving — and it looks a lot like Android Auto]

The information was revealed as part of a budget plan unveiled yesterday by Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

It seems that France is cutting its EV subsidies a little earlier than people expect. Despite positive growth, the electric car market in the European nation is still small.

Over the first eight months of the year, EVs made up just 6.1% of the market, a 1.9% increase over the same period a year earlier, the report says.

[Read: 5 things to know when you’re buying your first electric vehicle]

In the coming years the country is going to increase the penalties imposed on high-emission vehicles. Which might serve to continue encouraging drivers to switch to electric power. However, auto lobbyists in the country say that the model doesn’t really work.

“To make the bonus-malus system a true instrument for the environmental transition, the bonus should also progress, otherwise the malus becomes just a disguised new tax,” said Marc Mortureux, La Platforme Automobile’s director general, in a statement.

Mortureux kind of has a point, too. Countries like Norway, that are leading not just Europe, but the world, when it comes to EV adoption, still offer all kinds of benefits to drivers for making more eco-friendly choices. In Norway, some 50% of new cars are electric, but in France, that figure is less than 10%.

It seems that France‘s approach to EV incentives was to get the ball rolling, which it certainly is, but then slowly remove them until EVs become the norm. How effective that will be long term, remains to be seen.


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Published September 29, 2020 — 13:26 UTC