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Are electric cars popular in France?

Are electric cars popular in France?

The French car market closed the year 2021 with over 1.65 million new registrations (about 0.5% more than in 2020).

However, the plug-in electric segment expanded significantly to over 315,000 units (up 62% year-over-year).

Let’s first take a look at the December results. Last month, some 40,202 plug-in vehicles have been registered – new monthly record (up 8% year-over-year), including 38,658 passenger plug-ins and 1,544 commercial vehicles.

Passenger plug-ins also set the fifth consecutive monthly record market share at almost 24.5%.

New plug-in vehicle registrations:

  • Passenger BEVs: 23,168 – up 12% at 14.7% market share
  • Passenger PHEVs: 15,490 – up 2% at 9.8% market share
  • Light commercial BEVs: 1,466 – up 9% at 3.8% market share
  • Light commercial PHEVs: 78
  • Total plug-ins: 40,202 – up 8%


Plug-in car sales in France – December 2021

In 2021, over 315,000 new plug-ins were registered in France. That’s 62% more than a year ago. The passenger plug-in car share increased to 18.3%.

Registrations year-to-date:

  • Passenger BEVs: 162,106 – up 46%
  • Passenger PHEVs: 141,234 – up 88%
  • Light commercial BEVs: 12,085 – up 37%
  • Light commercial PHEVs: 553
  • Total plug-ins: 315,978 – up 62%

Only 14 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles were registered in 2021.

As we can see below, the last two years brought some serious volume to the plug-in segment.

According to our data, more than 780,000 plug-ins were sold in France since 2010, including almost 500,000 all-electric cars.



In December, the Tesla model 3  was the top all-electric model with 3,959 units, followed by the ZOE (3,332) and Dacia spring (2,787).

It means that the Tesla Model 3 became the top passenger electric car in France in 2021, with a total of 24,911 units. It’s another country conquered by the Model 3.

The Renault ZOE was #2 with 23,573 units – however, there were also 2,127 registrations for commercial purposes. It would mean that more ZOE were put on the road then the Tesla Model 3.

We are counting the Tesla Model 3 as the best-selling passenger car, because the commercial registrations are a different category. Similarly does Jose Pontes (EV Volumes data) in his report for EV Sales Blog and recently Cleantechnica.

The third best selling model was the peugout  (17,859 + 1,090 commercial units).

The three top all-electric passenger models are:

  • Tesla Model 3: 24,911
  • Renault ZOE: 23,573 (plus 2,127 commercial versions)
  • Peugeot e-208: 17,859 (plus 1,090 commercial versions)

The three top passenger  plug-in hybrid models are:

  • Peugeot 3008 PHEV: 16,962 (plus 40 commercial versions)
  • Renault Capture PHEV: 8,180 (plus 309 commercial versions)
  • Citroen C5 AC PHEV: 7,097 (plus 11 commercial versions)

Detailed numbers of plug-in car registrations provided by France.

Macron set an ambitious target of one million EVs produced annually in France by 2025, and the incentives are tailored to help increase domestic demand. Renault and PSA Group have already pledged to increase production, with a full-electric version of the next generation Peugeot 3008 to be built in France, and Renault setting production of two new EVs by 2022.

Two-track plan
The incentives announced by Macron will follow two tracks, one for scrapping older vehicles for cleaner, newer models and one for the purchase of new EVs and plug-in hybrids.

The incentives mean that:

  • A 6,000-euro government bonus for the purchase of a new EV (costing up to 45,000 euros) will be raised to 7,000 euros until the end of the year.
  • Business and fleet buyers can receive 5,000 euros for an EV.
  • Plug-in hybrids that cost up to 50,000 euros and have an electric range of at least a 50-km will get a 2,000-euro bonus.

In releasing the plan, the French government cited a number of specific examples meant to show that low-emissions vehicles are within the reach of working-class families.

The buyer of the Zoe who receives 12,000 euros in bonus would have monthly payments of 200 euros, after a 10,000 euro down payment. In addition, they would save 400 euros a year on fuel — and would remove one ton of CO2 and 5.5 kg of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the air.

Starting June 1 until the end of this year, the “conversion prime” for buyers who turn in older vehicles will be doubled, to 5,000 euros to buy an EV or plug-in hybrid (with at least 50 km of battery-only range), and 3,000 euros for an internal-combustion engine car, so long as they meet the newest emission standards.

Half of all vehicles now on French roads will be eligible, generally gasoline cars registered before 2006 and diesel cars registered before 2011. In addition, income limits to participate in the program will be relaxed so that 75 percent of French households will be eligible.

The government is expecting to fund about 200,000 purchases under the program at a total cost of 800 million euros.

In a specific example cited by the government, the owner of a 2003 gasoline powered small car could buy a used 2016 Toyota Yaris hybrid for 9,400 euros, with a 3,000-euro trade-in bonus reducing that price to 6,400 euros. The hybrid Yaris would reduce fuel costs by 450 euros a year and remove 0.7 tons of CO2 and 0.8 kg of NOx from the air.



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