The truth about electric cars

Three Connexion readers who have bought electric vehicles describe their experiences to Brian McCulloch

France is stepping up its efforts to encourage people to buy electric cars.

So far, initiatives to promote electric motoring have had little result in terms of absolute numbers, with estimates at only around 2% of cars sold, but there is a sense that things are starting to change.

Larger batteries now mean that cars in the €30,000 price bracket can do nearly 300km in ordinary driving, rather than the 120km of the first generation.

Renault still prefers you to hire, rather than buy, batteries so they can be updated but other manufacturers are finding that battery performance over the years remains strong, with older batteries seeing only a limited fall-off in storage capacity.

Figures for the end of the third quarter of 2018, the latest available, show 9,600 electric cars registered in France – a rise of 18% on the same period in 2017, when 8,118 were registered. In total, 2,173,481 new cars were registered in 2018.

For 2019, the bonus électrique or bonus écologique (as sometimes referred to) is maintained at 27% of the price of buying or long-term renting a new electric car or van, up to a top limit of €6,000. Proposals to limit the bonus to cars costing less than €60,000 were not implemented.

Buyers or long-term renters of electric motorbikes, scooters, or quadricycles, such as the Renault Twizy, can also benefit, with a maximum bonus of €900 for vehicles with motors of at least 2kw, €100 for less than 2kw. Lead battery vehicles are excluded.

Electric bicycles can also receive a bonus électrique, but only if you live in a commune which gives grants to help people buy them. You have to be under the tax revenue limit (ie pay no tax) and have been given a grant by the commune.

The ...

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