Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: February 16, 2024
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By Mobility Portal
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From a duopoly to a diversified market: How does the diversification of CPOs benefit France?

Dozens of new players have emerged in recent years in France's CPO scene, breaking the duopoly formed by IONITY and Tesla. Why is the existence of monopolies in the sector a problem?
France charging point

Currently, France has more than 100 charging point operators (CPOs) operating nationwide.

This data reflects the diversification of the French market, unlike the duopoly that prevailed in 2020.

At that time, IONITY and Tesla together accounted for around 80 per cent of existing charging points, according to a study by Gireve, a B2B digital platform for electric mobility.

In this sense, the analysis details that the decentralization of the offer leads to an increase in the number of installed fast chargers, which means greater efficiency of the system and convenience for zero-emission vehicle drivers.

It is worth mentioning that France is on the list of European countries with low centralization regarding the presence of CPOs, as it has more than 20 actors with a limited market share, according to an analysis by the consulting firm Charles River Associates (CRA).

Among the new brands that have taken center stage in the French ecosystem in the last three years are Powerdot, TotalEnergies, Lidl, Allego, Electra, and Engie.

Within the region, a nation with medium centralization is Sweden, which has four key companies in its market.

On the other hand, Luxembourg presents a high degree of accumulation, since only one company commands almost 90 per cent of the operations.

Why is the existence of monopolies in the sector a problem?

According to the study published by the CRA, this situation represents the possibility of exploitative unilateral conduct and the potential hindrance of entry for new brands.

Additionally, there is the chance of the entry of regulatory barriers, for example, because local authorities grant concessions to CPOs exclusively.

In a situation of concentration, conflicts of interest can also lead to coordinated market conduct, resulting in price fixing.

However, France has no need to worry, as it has largely overcome this problem in the last three years and has consolidated a true market maturity.

For example, in 2023, 26 per cent of new cars sold in France were battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

This represents a significant leap compared to 17 per cent the previous year.

Taking into account the adoption of EVs by society and the distribution of charging points, France is considered a “developed” country in this regard.

However, the leader in this category is the Netherlands.

How did France manage to reach this level within the region?

Over the past few years, local state authorities have implemented a series of measures that favor market maturity.

One of the highlights is Decree 2021-153, which includes the installation of fast chargers at all highway service stations by January 1 of last year.

Also contributing to market advancement is the ADVENIR program, which provides subsidies of up to 15,000 euros per charging point to support the installation of 120,000 public and semi-public units by 2025.

Another noteworthy measure is the 2030 Investment Plan, which allocated 300 million euros for the development of high-capacity fast and ultra-fast chargers. In order to get to the same goal, the Recovery Plan includes an additional 100 million euros.

Regarding the adoption of electric vehicles, one of the measures that has the most impact in France is social leasing, which allows citizens to acquire an electric vehicle without paying the full cost.

On the other hand, the government implemented the ecological bonus, an aid ranging from 4,000 to 7,000 euros, granted to any buyer or lessee of a low or zero-emission unit.

Until February 12, the minimum of this subsidy was 5,000 euros, but the government officially announced a 20 percent cut in the amount.

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