Guide: what aid can I get to buy an electric car in France?

As France extends financial aid until July next year, we review what funds exist to help you buy a new electric or hybrid vehicle, to trade in your old car for new, or convert it to an electric model

26 October 2021
Charging an electric car with the power cable supply plugged in

There are a range of funds available to help drivers buy electric or hybrid vehicles in France Pic: Zapp2Photo / Shutterstock

By Hannah Thompson

Two types of financial aid to help people in France buy an electric car are now to be extended until July 1, 2022, instead of the previously planned date of January 1.

The government confirmed the extension of both the Bonus écologique and ‘prime à la conversion last week.

It comes as a new ranking, published in July this year, showed that the Tesla Model 3 was the most popular electric car in France in the first half of 2021, with 13,084 units sold. Next up was the Renault Zoé (10,797), and the Peugeot e-208 (9,133).

A new Tesla Model 3 costs from €47,990 in France, but the model’s SR+ version starts at €43,800, which comes in under the Bonus écologique aid threshold.

In view of the extra time, here we recap the financial aid now available in France for drivers who wish to buy a hybrid or electric vehicle.

Bonus écologique

Financial aid to buy or rent a new electric or hybrid rechargeable vehicle with a CO2 emission level of less than 50g per km. Hydrogen-powered cars are also eligible, but only those costing more than €60,000.

  • Not means-tested.
  • For an electric vehicle that costs less than €45,000, the bonus is 27% of the cost, to a maximum grant of €6,000.
  • For an electric vehicle that costs €45,000-60,000, the bonus is €2,000.
  • The same bonus is available for hydrogen-powered cars costing more than €60,000.
  • For a hybrid vehicle that costs less than €50,000, and can travel at least 50km powered by electricity alone, the bonus available is €1,000.

If you receive this help, you must wait at least six months, and travel at least 6,000km in the vehicle, before you are permitted to sell it on.

Prime à la conversion

Financial aid available on top of the bonus écologique. Enables owners to exchange an old, more polluting vehicle when buying a less polluting replacement.

  • Means-tested. 
  • Your taxable income must be less than €13,489 per ‘family quotient part’ in your household to qualify. An adult is equivalent to one part, and a minor half a part. The government has an online calculator to see if you qualify.
  • For an electric or hybrid vehicle that can run for at least 50km on electricity, the aid available is capped at 80% of the price, to a maximum of €5,000.
  • To be eligible for the maximum amount, you must have an income of less than €6,300 per part,  travel more than 12,000km per year commuting in the vehicle between work and home, and your workplace must be more than 30km away from your home.
  • If you do not fulfil all of these criteria, the amount available is limited to €2,500.
  • For a hybrid vehicle that cannot run for at least 50km on electricity, the aid available is €3,000 if you fulfil the criteria above. If you do not, the maximum available is €1,500.

The criteria for resale are the same as for the bonus écologique.

Prime au ‘rétrofit’ électrique

Financial aid available to help drivers convert (or ‘retrofit’) their older, combustion engine vehicle into an electric vehicle.

The conversion must be done by a trained professional in order to qualify for the aid.

  • Means-tested.
  • Available for up to 80% of the cost of the vehicle, up to a maximum of €5,000. 
  • To be eligible for the maximum amount, you must have an income of less than €6,300 per part,  travel more than 12,000km per year commuting in the vehicle between work and home, and your workplace must be more than 30km away.
  • If you do not fulfil all of these criteria, the amount available is limited to €2,500.

The criteria for resale are the same as for the two previous types of aid.

Local aid

On top of these government grants, there are also a number of more local financial packages available. The Ecology Ministry has listed them all on its website here.

  • For example, the Ile-de-France region offers between €1,500-€6,000 to help replace a combustion vehicle with an electric or hydrogen vehicle for people who work in the low-emission zone, and who live in the greater Paris area. Combined aid from the government and region is capped at 50-80% of the vehicle’s cost, depending on the level of aid received
  • The Bouches-du-Rhône department offers a €5,000 payment to help people buy a new electric vehicle, capped at 1,000 people each year. Resale is only allowed once you have kept the vehicle for at least three years, or reach 65,000km.
  • Cities and towns to have funding available include Paris, Lyon, Grenoble, Drancy in Seine-Saint-Denis, and Saint-Maure in Indre. Nice also offers €2,000 for those who wish to buy an electric car.

The amount available may also vary depending on whether you are buying in a business capacity or as an individual.

Related articles

New help-to-buy scheme for ‘green’ vehicles in Ile-de-France

Eco government grants for work vans in France are increased

Tesla tops list of electric cars sold in France in 2021

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