What can we learn from France about EV adoption?

 In EV Industry

There is no doubt, the automobile landscape is changing, and France is powering ahead when it comes to EV adoption. Last year alone 41,724 plug-in vehicles made it to the French homes, and the numbers are expected to be multiplied by five times within the next three years.

To meet the air quality and climate change goals, France is keen to banish the sales of all petrol- and diesel-fueled cars by the year 2040. Paris plans to phase out vehicles powered by internal combustion engines even earlier. The capital city aims to get rid of combustion-engine cars by the year 2030.

How did France become one of the leading EV Markets in the world? What can we learn from France about EV Adoption? Where is the emission-free car industry going? Keep reading to get these questions answered.

The perks of a bonus-malus scheme

The motherland of Peugeot and Renault has a long history incentivizing electric vehicle adoption.

France was one of the first countries in the world who introduced a bonus-malus taxation system back in 2008. Ten years later the French government is still successfully using this feebate scheme to reduce sales of carbon-emitting vehicles.

According to the scheme, the buyers of CO2-emitting cars would be a subject of increased vehicle taxation (malus).

Plug-in car shoppers, on the other hand, would be incentivized with a monetary bonus. If a purchased plug-in vehicle emits less than 20 grams of  CO2 per kilometre, the owner will get up to € 6,000  as a bonus.

On top of that, low-income families who are switching to less polluting vehicles are eligible for €500 to €1000 incentives.  The low-income households bonus is planned to be doubled to  €2000 sometimes soon, and it will be applicable for the purchase of second-hand vehicles as well.

If the new budget gets approved the €500 to €1,000 euro incentive would also be available to other (non-low-income) household switching to clean mobility.

Another perk of owning a plug-in vehicle in France is that you get a 50% discount on the license plate registration.  Some regions in France even entirely exempt EV owners from paying the carte grise fee.

Generous incentives provided by the government result in France’s EV adoption success. Development of the EV infrastructure is another area where la France shines.

Power ahead in EV infrastructure development

In 2017 France built more charging stations than any other country in the world. By installing almost 12,000 charging points, France was ranked first in the list of the countries with the fastest EV adoption index. Playing the lead role in addressing pollution and global warming, France aims to build 7 million EV charging points in total by the year 2025.

To achieve this ambitious EV adoption goal, the Government partnered with the lead energy groups like Schneider Electric and EDF. Even oil and gas giants like Total are getting on board with France’s plan to deal with the significant environmental issues.

Total, one of the most prominent French oil and gas companies, revealed its plans to install EV charging points on their 300 petrol/gasoline stations all over the country. The company aims to place its charging points every 100 miles around the main French highways.

To make cross-border mobility more available to French residents, local Government also joined forces with European Union and top e-mobility players like Renault, Nissan, and BMW.

Co-financed by EDF in France and Zero Carbon Futures in the UK,  the UNIT-E project eliminates the range anxiety of those EV drivers who travel major international routes in France, UK, Italy or Belgium.  The EV travel across Europe has been made easier with 38 rapid charge UNIT-E points

Top car makers are getting serious about EVs

Beloved French car brands like Renault, Peugeot, and Citroen are getting serious about sustainable transportation.

For example, Renault has announced its ambitious plans to put twelve new electric models on the road by 2022.

In alliance with Nissan and Mitsubishi, Renault invests heavily in the EV technology development.

One of the most expected Renault’s projects is a new generation of Zoe – the car that Renault plans to conquer international markets like China and Russia with.

But not only does France use its expertise to serve a local market. In pursuit of zero-emission future, France partners with the top industry players from all over the world, and Mercedes-Benz is one of them.

At the end of spring 2018, the president Emmanuel Macron announced the news that will shape the face of modern EV market: the first Mercedes compact EQ will be manufactured in France.

German car behemoth is investing around €500 million to start producing electric Mercedes-Benz in the French facility. As a result of this German-Franco cooperation, ten electric car models will hit the road by 2022.


The 2040 petrol and diesel ban, which France is committed to, is coming faster than we can imagine. And the homeland of Peugeot and croissants is undoubtedly powering through on its way to a zero-emission fleet.

France embraces e-mobility by providing financial incentives to buy electric vehicles, investing in ever-advancing electric cars technology and developing EV infrastructure.  Thank you, France, for leading the way to sustainable electric transportation!

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