An electric car conversion scheme run by the French government to encourage owners replace their old petrol and diesel cars with new electric vehicles has had an unexpected uptake.
Established at the start of 2017, the intention of the scheme is to help France achieve its Paris climate agreement emissions reduction target.
By scrapping old polluting vehicles, owners of old vehicles receive a bonus under the scheme of up to 2,500 euros to go towards the purchase of a new electric vehicle.
The amount received by applicants differs according to taxation status, with taxable households being able to receive a bonus for converting from diesel vehicles registered before 2001, or petrol vehicles registered before 1997.
“Non-taxable” households may convert diesels vehicles registered before 2006, or petrol vehicles registered before 1997.
While the French government allocated funding for 100,000 such applications each year, already 45,000 people have applied for the bonus since January 1, according to local French media group RTL.
To qualify for the conversion bonus, the car must have been owned by the applicant for at least 12 months, be registered in France and not be considered a “damaged vehicle”. The old car must be scrapped within 6 months of the new vehicle purchase.
Currently, two-thirds of the conversion bonuses have been distributed to non-taxable households.
It has been reported that some dealers are offering additional cash rebates of up to 4 or 5 times the amount initially granted by the conversion scheme, while individuals making the conversion bonus application themselves are complaining of delays in processing.
While it is preferable that electric vehicles are purchased under the scheme, applicants may also purchase a petrol or diesel car as long as it has emissions not exceeding 130 g / km of CO2, and a Crit’Air (Air Quality Certificate) rating of 1 or 2.
Presumably the scheme hopes to address France’s failure to reach their 2016 emissions target of 447 million tonnes of CO2 or equivalent. The Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot has stated that France will revise its emissions target by the end of 2018.
Bridie Schmidt is lead reporter for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She specialises in writing about new technology and has been writing about electric vehicles for two years. She has a keen interest in the role that zero emissions transport has to play in sustainability and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum.