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France offers up to €11,000 for eco-friendly vehicles

Drivers in France are still eligible in 2020 to receive up to €11,000 in grants to help buy a new or second-hand “clean” vehicle to replace an older, more polluting one - under certain conditions.

The grant, known as the “prime à la conversion” and sometimes colloquially as the “prime à la casse”, can range from €100 to €5,000 overall depending on the type of car bought, the financial means of the buyer, and other benefits claimed. Overall, all grants included, the maximum amount that may be claimed is €11,000.

Firstly, to qualify, a car or small van must have a registration dating to before 1997, if it has a petrol engine. Vehicles with diesel engines must date back to 2001, where the individual’s taxable income is less or equal to €13,489; or back to 2006, if the income is more than this.

Even if a vehicle is damaged, it may still be eligible for the scheme, but it must have a valid insurance certificate of at least a year.

The grant available also depends on the taxable income of the claimant, with up to €5,000 available if this is equal to or less than €6,300. In addition, people who use their vehicles to travel more than 30km to work may be eligible for up to €3,000 for a “thermal management” engine model, and €5,000 for a new or second-hand electric or hybrid engine vehicle.

New electric motorbikes, scooters, and three- and four-wheel vehicles are also eligible for the scheme (up to €100 for the highest-earning households, and €1,100 for the least well-off).

To be eligible, all purchased vehicles must comply with one of the first three Crit’Air labels - Crit’Air 0, 1 or 2. Crit’Air is a rating that shows how much pollution a vehicle produces. Certain cities in France - notably Paris - often impose days that restrict the movement of vehicles that do not qualify for a certain Crit’Air rating.

The “prime” grant may also be taken alongside the “eco bonus (bonus écologique)” of up to €6,000 per individual. In this case, regardless of income, someone who buys an electric car for less than €45,000 can claim a total of €8,500 (€2,500 from the “prime à la conversion” plus €6,000 of “bonus écologique”).

Overall, the poorest 20% of households can qualify for a total of €11,000 (€5,000 from the “prime à la conversion” and €6,000 in “bonus écologique”).

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