Nearly a third of French are thinking of buying an electric car

Despite the remaining obstacles, 30% of French people are considering buying an electric car and 54% a hybrid. Only 12% of French people say they are “attached” to the internal combustion vehicle. This is evident from an online survey of about 1 300 people conducted by Odoxa, a French polling company.

In 2035, when it will be forbidden to sell cars that run on fossil fuels, 20 million combustion engine vehicles should be on the road in France, i.e., half of the French car fleet.

Still, 98% of all cars registered in France run on fuel. However, plug-in electric car sales in France achieved a record market share of 18,3% in 2021.

High costs remain an issue

According to the Odoxa survey, in addition to the cost (72%), the lack of autonomy (53%) and recharging stations (37%) are the main obstacles to buying an electric car. For 63% of them, the hydrogen vehicle, which is still marginal now, is also perceived as a serious alternative to combustion vehicles.

Among the around 300 technology professionals that participated in the survey and who were questioned in detail, the interest is broader: 45% have considered buying an electric vehicle and 60% a hybrid.

And if cars are increasingly expensive to buy and use, only 22% of French people say they are ready to stop owning a car.

Role of the employer

When it comes to mobility, companies play a key role, as many journeys are work-related. According to the survey, only one in two (49%) employees work for a company that supports more eco-friendly mobility, which includes encouraging employees to cycle or take an e-scooter (31%) or carpool (30%). Some encourage employees to limit business trips by car (28%); 19% of employees have been offered a sustainable mobility package.

Among technology professionals, companies seem to be more concerned about the subject: 72% of them are concerned with encouraging cycling (54%) or carpooling (52%) or reducing travel by car (51%), and 32% of them have taken advantage of the sustainable mobility package.

More electric charging stations

Meanwhile, the French government is stepping up its efforts to give the French a push to switch to a greener car fleet.

In an interview with Les Echos newspaper, French president Emmanuel Macron announced that the ecological bonus would be increased from 6 000 to 7 000 euros for half of the poorest households and that car rental at 100 euros per month should be launched in the second half of 2023.

The tariff shield on energy prices will also be extended to recharging at electric charging stations. Finally, in a decree published on Tuesday, the government also urged fuel distributors to support the deployment of electric charging stations on the road.

France is among the top European countries regarding the number of installed public charging points. But the European Parliament proposed on Wednesday that by 2026, drivers of electric cars on European highways should be able to recharge their vehicles at least every 60 kilometers.

Another €70 million in additional support

In addition, the French Minister of Industry Roland Lescure announced that the state will grant 70 million euros to the automotive industry for projects to facilitate the switch to electric vehicles.

A first envelope will be devoted to a call for projects dedicated to innovative solutions and technologies for electric vehicle batteries 15 projects have been selected. They represent a total of 123 million euros of investment, and the French state will contribute 50 million euros. In practice, the minister said these are solutions for the “reconditioning or recycling” of batteries.

The second envelope, which could amount to 20 million euros, will be intended for “retrofit” professionals, which consists of converting thermal vehicles to electric.

Despite the European Parliament’s decision last June to ban sales of new combustion engine cars in 2035, they are likely to remain on the road and on the second-hand market for several more years.

“In 2035, the year in which the sale of combustion engine vehicles will cease, there will still be around 20 million combustion engine vehicles in France, i.e. half of the French car fleet,” the Ministry of the Economy said in a press release, stressing the importance of “democratizing electric retrofitting.”

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