Recap: 2023 French state aid for switching to a less polluting car

A new income threshold has come into force. We look at the eligibility criteria and conditions

A photo of an electric car being charged on a street in Issy les Moulineaux, France
The payment amount is means-tested, and also depends on the purchase price of the electric vehicle
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Drivers in France who exchange a petrol or diesel vehicle for a less polluting model in 2023 can benefit from state aid to help with their purchase. The criteria have been updated for this year.

The rules for 2023 include:

Change to means-testing rules

Aid for drivers can now include a payment of up to €6,000 or more in some cases, depending on household income and the type of car needed.

The aid is intended to help people buy (or long-term hire/lease) a new or second-hand car that is less polluting than their previous vehicle.

To benefit from the payment, you must:

  • Be resident, ‘domiciled’ in France for tax purposes

  • Have an income for tax (revenu fiscal de référence) per household ‘part’ (unit) of less than or equal to €22,983.

This income threshold has been updated for 2023; in 2022 the limit was €13,489.

Vehicle criteria

There are also a number of criteria related to the vehicle for people to qualify for the payment.

You must:

  • Own the vehicle, and not have won it or been given it

  • Intend to be the owner of the vehicle to be purchased

The vehicle being given up must:

  • Be a petrol vehicle registered before 2006 or a diesel vehicle registered before 2011

  • Have been bought at least a year ago

  • Not be officially ‘off the road’ or ready to be scrapped (other conditions apply for these)

The vehicle being purchased must:

  • Be bought new, second-hand, or leased, and be kept by the beneficiary for at least two years

  • Cost €47,000 or less (e.g. the EV Renault Mégane or Peugeot 2008, but not a Tesla)

  • Weigh 2.4 tonnes or less

  • Be registered in France

  • Not be considered ‘damaged’ in any way

The payment amount is also capped at a maximum of 80% of the vehicle purchase price. Recipients can only benefit from the payment once.

The measures are related to President Emmanuel Macron’s pledge, in October 2022, that he was “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 re-industrialise our country.”

More help is also available for people who live and work in some low-emission zones.

It comes as a poll from October 2022 found that almost a third of people in France were considering buying an electric car, but that their main reservations were around price and practicality.

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