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Trade old car for eco-friendly one with new scheme

A new, eco-friendly car could soon be yours, as the French government launches a website to help drivers take advantage of new grants available to help you trade in old for new.

The grants, which are known in French as the “prime a la conversion” and which became available on January 1 this year, are designed to help you trade in your old, polluting car for a newer, ecologically-cleaner vehicle, as announced by ecology minister Nicolas Hulot as part of his “Plan Climat” measures and “paquet solidarité climatique” campaign.

The new website can help you calculate your eligibility for the scheme, figure out how much you could be paid, and how to go about buying a greener vehicle with the cash - and promises to help you in just “six steps maximum”.

Among the criteria for the grants, your old car or van (that you want to trade in) must weigh less than 3.5 tonnes, and be registered before 1997 for petrol vehicles, and before 2001 for diesel vehicles (and before 2006 for households that do not pay tax).

The vehicle you trade in must also be registered in France, and have been owned by you for at least one year.

The amount you could be paid will vary depending on your household’s financial situation, with up to €1,000 available for taxed households and €2,000 for those that do not pay tax. The total available per household is €2,500 for the purchase of a new vehicle.

Grants for motorbikes, three-wheelers and quad bikes may also be available to you.

The money received through the scheme must then be used to buy or rent a new or recently-second-hand electric vehicle, or one using petrol or diesel, which emits less than 130g CO² per kilometre, classified as "Crit’air 1 or 2". The new vehicle must also replace your existing car or van.

The website also goes into detail about how to exchange your old vehicle for a new one, and exactly how to dispose of your old car and register the new one under the scheme.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to receive your eligible amount off your new vehicle at the point of sale - with the seller later reimbursed by the State - or you may have to apply directly to the government, and obtain your new vehicle afterwards.

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