France halts subsidised EV lease programme after strong demand

PARIS (Reuters) – The French government said on Monday it was halting for the rest of this year a programme to subsidise low earners leasing an electric car, after demand far exceeded initial plans.

Under the programme, people on less than 15,400 euros ($16,600) of annual income have since the start of 2024 been able to lease an electric vehicle for 100-150 euros per month.

The government launched the programme to boost demand for electric cars among people who otherwise could not afford them.

It was originally intended to go live earlier, but was pushed back to the start of this year because French carmakers were not ready with enough eligible vehicles.

The government had budgeted 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion)to offer 20,000 leases under the programme this year, but after huge demand it said on Monday that it was upping that to 50,000 this year before resuming it again next year.

The government is also offering car buyers a cash incentive of between 5,000 and 7,000 euros to get more electric vehicles on the road, at a total cost of 1 billion euros per year.

To be eligible for both programmes, vehicles have to meet limits on how much carbon was produced in their manufacturing and shipping – a measure designed to ensure cheap Chinese-made vehicles do not qualify.

The list of eligible models includes 24 produced by Franco-Italian group Stellantis and five by French carmaker Renault. Elon Musk’s Tesla Model Y is eligible but not its Model 3.

Dacia, Renault’s low-cost Renault, saw its Spring model imported from China excluded from the list.

($1 = 0.9281 euros)

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and Mark Potter)

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