New EV owners in France to get €7,000 grant, with aim to boost auto industry

27 May 2020

Two Renault Zoes at an EV charging station in France. Image: © OceanProd/

As part of a multibillion-euro package to keep France’s car industry afloat, its government is offering up to €7,000 for new EV buyers.

Globally, the car industry is facing a major crisis as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, and now France has unveiled an “historic” plan designed to save its own manufacturers. According to The Times, France’s government will pump €8bn into the auto industry to offset its major losses and boost the hybrid and EV sector.

In a news conference, French president Emmanuel Macron said: “We need a motivational goal: make France Europe’s top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output [up] to more than 1m electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years.”

Speaking at a Valeo factory in northern France, which manufacturers vehicle parts, Macron added: “This is a historic plan to confront the historic and terribly difficult situation that our country will have to face.”

The plan includes a scheme allowing for grants of up to €7,000 for those buying an electric vehicle (EV). Up to €5,000 can also be claimed if someone brings their old car in for an exchange.

Making France an EV leader

With approximately 400,000 vehicles left unsold as a result of the pandemic, another scheme would see those buying a traditional, fossil-fuel powered vehicle receive a €3,000 bonus, applicable to the majority of French households. A total of €200m will be distributed in subsidies, with a further €400m being put into an investment fund to back new innovations in the auto industry.

This, Macron said, will look to make France “the foremost country of clean cars in Europe”.

One of the country’s biggest auto industry names, Renault, recently confirmed it will be sharing more of its technology and vehicle parts with Japanese giant Nissan, as part of an alliance that also includes Mitsubishi. Renault also plans to quadruple the production of EVs within France by 2022.

In March, French competitor Citroën began taking orders for its new Ami EV. The tiny car runs on a 5.5kWh lithium-ion battery, which is housed under the floor of the vehicle. With this battery, the car can run for 70 kilometres after a three-hour charge, achieving a top speed of 45km/h.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic