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Published on February 16th, 2015 | by James Ayre


France Offering Up To €10,000 To Switch From Old Diesel Cars To Electric Cars

February 16th, 2015 by  

Europeans who hate that persistent smell of diesel fumes that seem to be everywhere in many cities, I’ve got good news for you. If you live in France, you’ll probably be happy to learn that the government has begun an aggressive initiative to get older, heavily polluting diesel cars off the road — by offering owners up to €10,000 (~$11,400) to switch to a plug-in hybrid electric or 100% battery-electric car.

The announcement — made by the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development, and Energy Ségolène Royal — makes it clear that the offer pertains to diesel cars of over 13 years of age.


Also worth noting is that the bonus is cumulative with the environmental bonus that’s been extended as of January 1, 2015. The offer is for individual owners.

The specifics of the offer are: electric vehicles get €3,700 (~$4,200) via the diesel car conversion bonus, plus €6,300 (~$7,200) via the environmental bonus, for a total of €10,000 (~$11,400); plug-in hybrids get €2,500 (~$2,850) to convert from an older diesel car, plus €4,000 (~$4,550) via the environmental bonus, for a total of €6,500 in incentives (~$7,400).

In addition to these larger incentives, the French government will also be offering a €500 bonus for the replacement of old diesel cars (over 13 years old) with Euro 6 class vehicles (emitting less than 110 gCO2/km).

This is great news for those of us who like everything about European cities… except the constant smell of diesel — and of course for those that live there, and will hopefully be breathing less diesel pollution at some point in the near future.

It also shows that France wants to stay at the head of the electric car market in Europe, alongside Norway.

Those who speak French (or just are curious) and want to read the original press information can find it here.

Image Credit: Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development, And Energy; Government of France

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About the Author

James Ayre’s background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy. You can follow his work on Google+.

  • Davide Sartoris

    utterly pointless. Electric cars polute the earth in the long term far more than any gasoline car.

    Sounds like bullshit? then do some research and find out for yourself. This is just a big publicity stunt.

    • Wayne Williamson

      Obviously your research did not include this site. Please provide a link to any of these articles that have electric cars polluting the Earth…

    • Bob_Wallace

      It is true that grids with coal generation are a problem.

      EVs are not the problem. They are very happy to run on renewable electricity.

      Clean the grid.

    • Ronald Brakels

      Electric cars in France are worse than gasoline burners? Really? It’s quite a different place from Mordor, you know. I mean Melbourne.

  • Martin

    I wonder how France is faring with buses, if they are changing to hybrid and e-buses.
    Their post office has been using e-vans for work in the cities.
    Most pollution in the cities is form traffic.

  • Martin

    A lot of people might not know, but there are more diesels cars in Europe and people keep them longer as well, so the older ones are more polluting.

  • RobMF

    Fantastic news. Wish more countries would go this route.

  • Matt

    It key to these moves is in the detail. Do you destroy to old polluter that is removed from the road? Like US gas for clunkers did. Do you required that the car that replaced it is high efficiency? So like France is, US did not.

    • Jenny Sommer

      No. These old cars are needed in Africa.
      Got AC…gone in 60 seconds.

  • onesecond

    Diesel can’t go soon enough. Is fresh air really too much to ask for?

  • Ronald Brakels

    Ze nuclear industry will be pleased. They haven’t had any good news since… You know, I don’t think I’m that old.

    • Jenny Sommer

      Actually this was the idea of the last EDF CEO.
      Only problem is that they will now buy even more German wind energy and Germany will have to burn more coal in winter to help out the French.
      I wonder if the French grid will handle the surge in cold winters. The interconnections to their neighbors are not that strong…only intended to export nuclear power and no way fit to handle increased imports.

      Originally they intended to grant bonuses for French cars only…

      • Bob_Wallace

        Wouldn’t you suspect that as France sees itself spending more to import energy that it will double down on efficiency?

        • Jenny Sommer

          You would think so but that would be against all EDF plans to sell more power…

      • Ronald Brakels

        This plan certainly has the nuclear industry’s fingerprints all over it. But I shrug my shoulders. I could design a more efficient plan for reducing/removing fossil fuels from transportation, but oddly enough, France has not contacted me on this subject – Zut alors! And despite a certain lack of efficiency, there could definitely be benefits for those of use sitting here on the opposite side of the world.

        To me, handling cold winters seems a no brainer. Install more wind power and rooftop solar which eases strain on trasmission and will assist during summer heatwaves when nukes may have to shut down as well as produce electricity in winter during the day. Lower prices when the sun does shine and the wind does blow will help shift demand.

      • Larmion

        Is France buying more German electricity? See the graphs in attachment. Both trendlines are constructed based on RTE’s numbers (the French transmission grid operator).

        – Net imports from Germany seem to be falling somewhat.
        – Net exports by France are roughly constant.

        Given the extremely low coefficient of determination, regardless of which type of regression used, it’s impossible to speak of a trend. But the data does show that there at least is no reason to suggest France has been importing more.

        It is true that France is importing more German power during a few months of the year, mainly in winter. However, like virtually all European power trading, that’s driven by economics rather than need.

        France has been closing its residual coal plants and some gas plants at a significant pace and has mainly replaced them by imports from Germany simply because that’s cheaper.

        Over the last few years, France has also frequently been supplying
        French power to struggling Belgium during winter while filling in the
        resulting gap by importing from Germany (Belgium has no interconnection with Germany, so direct imports are impossible). That has driven much of the increase in French winter imports.

        Both that decline in generation capacity and increased demand from Belgium are likely temporary. France has some major new generation capacity coming onstream in the early 2020’s (mainly offshore wind). By 2020, Belgium will also have completed an interconnection with Germany, a large gas plant and several large offshore wind farms – enough to cover its winter deficit.

        Meanwhile, Germany is expected to engineer a (mild) decrease in its lignite capacity by 2020. All that should significantly reduce the gap in spot prices and thus in arbitrage-based power trading. If anything, expect French imports from Germany to stabilize or decline in the future.

        • Jenny Sommer

          Good points.

          It’s mostly trading but there
          are times when France
          is importing at full capacity which is “only” 3GW anyways. Notably
          February 2012. That’s when spot market prices reached 700€/MWh. Demand
          is said to increase by 2.4GW with every °C so that 3GW really doesn’t
          make that much a difference.
          Maybe it is not a trend but France is
          increasingly depending on imports during the last decade. RTE does
          recognize that and they react.
          There will be a capacity market with 2016 to ensure demand is met during cold spells.
          suspect that electricity prices in France will rise a little faster
          than they already do as costumers will have to pay the capacity
          certificates in the end. They try to force utilities to keep uneconomic
          gas plants online.
          The decreasing demand will most likely
          effect peak winter prices in Germany. A modest cut in peak pricing
          should be the effect on Germany. The certificates are paid by French
          customers after all.

          But there are too many unknowns at the moment to predict the outcome.

          ) German nuclear will be gone in 2021 (Grafenrheinfeld is due to close in July, 8 left).

          Austrian utility Verbund already said that it can close any gap up to
          3GW yet Austria is not really developing hydro at the moment as they
          seem to be content importing cheap power and reselling from existing
          hydro storage.

          )Germany is discussing a capacity market.

          )Closing nuclear could potentially make gas plants profitable again (and spur investment in new RE) for a short period until enough RE fills in again.

          )We never know if all coal plants that already applied will be allowed to close.

          the French strategy? How many nuclear plants are going to be closed
          down in the coming years? Will demand keep falling? How much Offshore
          wind are they going to ad? Will Flamanville ever go online? Would they buy more from Germany if it makes sense economically?

          I will be watching with interest.

          It would even be more fun if really all the data was available to us….anything from any plant on the grid.
          We still don’t know the cost of nuclear. Rumor has it that EDF has to sell for ~55€/MWh (rising ~3-5%/a) to cover operating cost and that their decommissioning funds won’t cover cost anyways.

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