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Cost, lack of charging places: blocks on buying electric car in France

Almost a third of people polled say they are considering buying electric but have reservations on price and practicality

A photo of an electric car charging with a city in the background

The new poll found that more than half of people in France are considering a hybrid vehicle, while almost a third are thinking about going electric, as France aims for full electric by 2035 Pic: Blue Planet Studio / Shutterstock

Almost a third of people (30%) who took part in a new poll in France say they are thinking about buying an electric car but almost two-thirds say that cost is a major stumbling block. 

The poll* also found that 54% are thinking about buying a hybrid vehicle. Similarly, 63% said that a hydrogen vehicle could be a serious alternative to combustion models.

Yet, the same poll also found: 

  • Only 11% of people have so far bought an electric or hybrid vehicle
  • 72% felt that the expense involved was a stumbling block to going electric
  • 53% said they were put off by the “lack of independence” of electric car
  • 37% said the “lack of charging stations” put them off buying an electric vehicle.

Only 22% of respondents said that they were prepared to stop owning a car altogether.

Fabrice Catala, partner at the Kea Group which was involved in compiling the poll, told FranceInfo that the results show that “with the right infrastructure (availability of charging stations), the right technology (better battery life) and financial incentives, France can achieve its ambitions to limit emissions from motor vehicle use”.

President Macron pledges new aid for electric vehicles

President Emmanuel Macron recently announced new aid for electric car purchases in the country. 

Read more: Increased aid announced for electric car purchases in France 

He said that the extra help would be for lower-income households who want to buy an electric vehicle. He also said that he wanted to place a price cap on electric vehicle charging stations.

In an interview on October 16, Mr Macron said: “We must help households to change their vehicle.

“We are committed to the objective of making 100% of vehicles electric by 2035. It is necessary for achieving our climate objectives and is an opportunity to reindustrialise our country.”

The measures are set to include a payment of €7,000 (up from €6,000) for half of French households on lower incomes when buying an electric car. For other households, the grant will fall to €5,000. A potential start date for these changes has not been given.

Electric vehicles eligible for the payment include those sold new for €47,000 or less (most EVs are currently more expensive than fossil-fuel equivalents). This includes models such as the Renault Mégane or Peugeot 2008 but would not apply to a Tesla, for example.

The president also called for one million electric vehicles to be produced in France by 2027 and a full switchover to all-electric vehicles for everyone by 2035.

*The survey was conducted online at the start of October, among a representative sample of 1,000 people 18+ in France, as well as 304 professionals in the technology, digital, and innovation fields by the Odoxa institute. It  was compiled by consultancies Kea & Partners and Mascaret and the news outlets Stratégies, BFM Business and L'Usine digitale. 

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