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France considers limiting electric car grants to EU vehicles only

The move follows similar action from the United States to protect its own car-making industry

The Zoe was the top selling all-electric car in Europe for two years running in 2015 and 2016 Pic: otomobil / Shutterstock

France is to ask the European Union to consider whether only EU-made electric vehicles should be eligible for purchase grants.

Finance minister Bruno Le Maire said the measure made sense after the United States announced it would give grants only to American-built EVs, effectively closing the market to European cars.

Tesla overtakes Renault with best-selling EV

Renault invested heavily in EVs around 20 years ago and, with the Zoé, it was the first in Europe to offer a model designed entirely for a fully electric drive.

However, its claim to having the best-selling electric car in Europe has since been lost to the US’s Tesla.

Purchase grants

Mr Le Maire said France will continue to help buyers of electric cars costing less than €50,000 in 2023, with €1.3billion in the budget for the bonus écologique.

In October, a payment of €7,000 (up from €6,000) was announced for the half of French households on lower incomes. For other households the grant will fall to €5,000. 

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

The separate prime à la conversion will remain at €2,500, but is €5,000 if you live more than 30km from work. 

It can be given for new or secondhand EVs or hybrid vehicles, as long as the latter can run for more than 50km on batteries alone.

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