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Date: February 12, 2024
Pedro Kaiser
By Pedro Kaiser
France
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Mixed signals: Are Paris’ efforts to promote electromobility overshadowed by a new referendum?

Citizens voted in a referendum that restricts the circulation of large, heavy, and polluting vehicles. However, this also includes electric units. What measures is Paris implementing to prevent "disincentives" to electromobility?
Paris electric vehicles

In recent years, Paris has made legislative strides to promote sustainable mobility development.

However, a recent referendum consulting Parisians on restricting the circulation of large, heavy vehicles may disincentivize the use of electrified units.

78,121 citizens have cast their votes, and 54.55 per cent of them voted in favour of creating a specific tariff.

The initiative stems from the fact that over the past three decades, the average size and weight of cars have increased due to the exponential development of SUVs.

These vehicles, currently representing 40 per cent of sales, generate problems in pollution, safety, and equitable distribution of public space.

For these reasons, Parisians on the electoral rolls were invited to vote.

On Sunday, February 4, the premise of the election was: “For or against the creation of a specific fee for parking heavy, bulky, and polluting individual vehicles?”

Specifically, Paris proposes to triple parking fees for drivers of such cars.

In this regard, the price will range from 18 euros per hour from the centre to district 11, while from district 12 to 20, it will be 12 euros per hour.

Despite not being polluting, the penalty also applies to electric and plug-in hybrids, which could discourage their acquisition by citizens.

Although it is worth noting that the legislation makes some distinction depending on the energy used by the vehicle.

Namely, any combustion SUV exceeding the regulatory weight pays the fee.

Plug-in hybrids weighing over 1.6 tons also pay the penalty.

In the case of purely battery electric vehicles, only those exceeding two tons pay the fee.

Despite this “disincentive” to electromobility, France is leading one of the most successful processes in Europe towards the electrification transition of its fleets.

During 2023, the country recorded a BEV market share of 16.8 per cent, above the regional average of around 14 per cent.

This is because both the country’s and city’s authorities have created and passed laws that encourage the use of sustainable transportation.

For example, on July 1, 2019, a Low Emission Zone (ZFE) was created within the Greater Paris Metropolis, covering almost the entire territory of the A86 highway.

Additionally, to promote micromobility, lawmakers implemented a cycling plan in 2021.

This measure aims to develop the urban area to be entirely suitable for bicycles.

Of the existing 300 kilometres of bike lanes, the plan established the creation of an additional 130 kilometres.

What are the national policies that incentivize electromobility in Paris?

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.

The lease contract must have a minimum duration of three years. At the end, the individual can return the vehicle or buy it for its residual value.

Prices vary, but the monthly fee is usually 100 euros or less, although it can go up to 150 euros for family models.

As for the car, it must achieve the minimum environmental score, and its purchase price must be equal to or less than 47,000 euros.

On the other hand, the government implemented the eco-bonus; a financial aid granted to any buyer or lessee of a low or zero-emission unit.

The amount of this government incentive is determined based on the type of vehicle motorization and its purchase price.

The subsidy amount ranges from 5,000 to 7,000 euros, and is only granted to electric cars with a production carbon footprint of less than 14.75 tons of CO2.

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