In an effort to accelerate the transition to cleaner and more sustainable transportation, France has implemented new measures targeting polluting and heavy vehicles.
The changes include amendments to both the subsidy and penalty tax systems, aiming to promote the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and discourage the use of high-emission and heavy combustion-engine vehicles.
As of the beginning of this year, France has revamped its subsidy scheme for electric vehicles.
The “bonus écologique,” a state subsidy for EVs, is now contingent on various environmental criteria, incorporating factors such as the ecological impact of the assembly plant and transportation routes to the point of sale.
This adjustment poses challenges for Chinese manufacturers, as meeting the criteria has proven difficult for them.
Consequently, no electric cars manufactured in China feature on the list of subsidized models published by the French government in December.
Meanwhile, around two-thirds of electric vehicles sold in France, including models from the Stellantis Group, Renault, and German manufacturers, remain eligible for the subsidy.
Notably, the Tesla Model Y produced in Germany is also included in the subsidized models.
Simultaneously, France has tightened the “malus écologique,” a penalty tax aimed at discouraging the use of high-emission vehicles.
The one-time tax, payable upon a car’s initial registration in France, now applies to vehicles emitting 118 g/km or more, according to WLTP (Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure). This threshold was reduced from the previous 123 g/km.
The tax starts at 50 euros and increases significantly with higher CO2 emissions, reaching a maximum of 60,000 euros for emissions exceeding 194 grams per kilometer.
Furthermore, the penalty for particularly heavy internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles weighing 1,800 kg or more has been extended to all cars weighing more than 1,600 kg.
The penalty is calculated based on the excess weight, with fees ranging from ten to 30 euros per kilogram, depending on the weight category.
Approximately ten percent of new diesel and petrol cars sold in France in 2024 are estimated to weigh more than 1,800 kilograms.
To address potential challenges for larger families and first-time owners of converted vehicles, the government offers penalty reductions, particularly if the converted vehicle is registered six months or later after the initial registration due to the conversion.
These measures aim to incentivize the adoption of lighter, low-emission vehicles while supporting families and encouraging sustainable transportation choices.