Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: July 9, 2024
Renewed energy: the French left’s surprise victory gives eMobility a breath of fresh air
By Lucía Colaluce
French flag

Renewed energy: the French left’s surprise victory gives eMobility a breath of fresh air

The victory of the leftist coalition offers a reprieve for the electromobility sector and raises new expectations for the country's green policies. Will the New Popular Front manage to form the necessary alliances to fulfil its reindustrialisation promises?
French left's surprise victory

In the second round of the recent parliamentary elections in France, the left-wing coalition emerged as the dominant force, overtaking the far right in a contest marked by the electorate’s division between left, centre, and right.

Given the “potential threat” posed by Marine Le Pen‘s Rassemblement National party, which had considered withdrawing from the Green Deal and the Paris Agreement, this outcome has relieved both the electromobility sector and the French populace.

Fortunately for the industry, the New Popular Front (NPF) programme includes a plan for industrial reconstruction to end the country’s and Europe’s dependence on strategic areas, including electric vehicles (EVs).

This involves increasing infrastructure and production capacity for manufacturing more EVs and their components, such as batteries, electric motors, charging systems, and other associated technologies.

This process includes expanding production in terms of volume and developing more advanced and efficient technologies to improve the competitiveness and sustainability of the electric vehicle industry.

Additionally, it may involve initiatives to ensure sustainable supply chains and reduce dependence on imported key components like batteries, thus promoting local industrial and technological autonomy in the electric mobility sector.

Emmanuel Macron voting to build the new National Assembly.

Moreover, the plan might continue Emmanuel Macron’s initiative to install gigafactories nationwide or even attract the production of electric models from already established brands in the country.

The NPF has not detailed other plans involving electromobility, making it crucial to await the new composition of the National Assembly to see if legislations like Damien Adam’s proposal for corporate fleet electrification will be resumed.

Following the announcement of early parliamentary elections in France and the prior dissolution of the National Assembly, this project was suspended.

Another sector uncertainty lies in the future of the agreement signed between the state and the automotive industry in early May to set more ambitious goals for zero-emission vehicle adoption.

Finally, sector leaders question whether the protectionist policy against China, which saw Macron exclude Asian models from the Eco Bonus subsidies, will continue.

The scheme offers up to 5,000 euros in funding for the purchase of new zero-emission cars priced under 47,000 euros.

In response to the significant influx of Asian EV imports, Macron’s excluded Chinese models from this benefit.

However, Macron didn’t anticipate potential retaliations from Xi Jinping, such as imposing taxes on cognac, one of France’s most exported products to China, sparking a trade war affecting various local producers.

What awaits France after the NPF victory?

The victorious coalition represents a mix of parties ranging from centre-left to the radical left, including socialists, Greens, communists, and the France Unbowed (LFI) movement.

Despite the NPF’s numerical superiority over other factions, the political landscape reveals a fragmented power distribution, with no group achieving the absolute majority of 289 seats needed to form a government.

While NPF leaders acknowledge that the electoral outcome is due to a collective effort, significant differences on how to manage the post-election phase are emerging.

Without an absolute majority, some members argue that their coalition must seek support from other parties, such as President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble alliance.

Raphaël Glucksmann, an emerging figure in the centre-left Socialist Party, stresses the need for opponents to unite and reach agreements, similar to other parts of Europe.

Consequently, François Hollande, the former Socialist president of France and now an elected deputy, suggests the NPF might seek alliances with other groups, despite recognizing the inherent challenges of this strategy.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, referent of the NPF giving a speech after winning the elections.

On the other hand, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the radical left LFI, rules out collaboration with Macron’s bloc and advocates for his faction to have the opportunity to appoint their own Prime Minister and govern independently.

Similarly, NPF leaders are pressuring the president to give their alliance the first opportunity to form a government and propose a prime minister to share power with him.

Following the results, current Prime Minister Gabriel Attal submitted his resignation this morning, which Macron refused to accept.

Having not secured the majority of votes, Macron might attempt to form a joint government with the moderate left, despite France lacking a tradition of such agreements.

Nonetheless, the president asked Attal to remain in office for now to ensure the country’s stability.

There was a notable discrepancy between the national parliamentary elections and those of the European Union, as the winning factions were entirely opposing groups.

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