France wages war on China-made electric cars. Here's the ‘what’ and 'how'

France wants its people to buy electric cars. Just that the country isn't too keen on the public relying on models made in far away China. A new eligibility rule for incentives on electric cars was revealed in the country on Wednesday which could see Chinese EVs losing out against rival models.

By: Shubhodeep Chakravarty
| Updated on: 21 Sep 2023, 08:50 AM
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File photo used for representational purpose.
File photo used for representational purpose.

French President Emmanuel Macron has clearly stated a target of around two million electric vehicles (EVs) to be manufactured in the country by 2030. At present, the number is somewhere around the 1.5 million mark. At the same time - and ironically enough, France has also pushed back against an EU move to ban sales of new combustion engine-powered vehicles. So what's cooking in the French EV pot?

Many believe that Macron is determined to support the EV infrastructure in the country to help France reduce its dependence on imported fuel. But the influx of Chinese EV brands and models could throw a spanner into the plans. After all, Chinese EVs are becoming quite popular because customers are preferring the comparatively low purchase price.

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French bonanza for buying EVs

The government in France currently offers an incentive of anywhere between 5,000 euros and 7,000 euros (up to approximately 6.20 lakh) on purchase of certain eligible electric models. But the market does not have many ‘affordable’ EV models from European brands or ‘affordable’ 'Made-in-Europe models. China-made models are, on an average, around 20 per cent cheaper than counterparts made in Europe. As a result, EVs manufactured in China and exported to France are making hay while the proverbial thunder of incentives exist.

The Great Wall of France?

According to the new rules in France, the incentives on EV models would be decided based on amount of energy utilised in the manufacturing, assembly and transport processes. The battery used will also have an influence on the score.

Why this is likely to hurt models made in China is because manufacturing the country is largely reliant on coal-powered electricity and therefore, the incentives could be beyond the reach of Chinese EV makers in France. For models under 23,000 euros, it could level the playfield.

The battle between brands, therefore, is all set to hot up with the French preparing a new list of EV models eligible for incentives that will be made public come December.

(With inputs from Reuters)

First Published Date: 21 Sep 2023, 08:50 AM IST
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