French drivers will be able to access electric vehicles for 100 euros a month (less than $A150) through a leasing scheme planned by the French government.
The subsidised leasing scheme will play a key role in ensuring Emmanuel Macron government’s promise to make electric cars more affordable.
The weekly EV leasing cost is, as outlined by French budget minister Gabriel Attal on Sunday, less than the average amount that a driver in that country would spend on petrol.
The scheme would be available to low-income earners, for whom the price of going electric is often out of reach.
“We know that for many French they remain very expensive,” Attal was reported as saying on Sunday by Auto News Europe.
Of course, the ability of the French government to subsidise EV leasing to reach such a low cost is because there are already a number of low-cost electric cars available on the auto market there.
Auto News Europe notes that the Dacia Spring, the Fiat 500e, the Renault Twingo and the Nissan Leaf are all available for between 120-150 ($A173-217) euros a month.
France has long been a strong supporter of the transition to electric mobility. It already offers a 6,000 euro ($A8,687) rebate for drivers buying an EV for less than 47,000 euros (a little more than $A68,000).
It also has a cash for clunkers scheme to encourage drivers to ditch older polluting vehicles rather than sell them to other drivers. After it was first introduced in 2018, its uptake was so popular that nearly half of the allocations had been applied for within three months.
In May, Macron promised $A13.7 billion towards restarting the French auto manufacturing industry, with a focus on electrification.
Battery electric vehicles currently account for around one in five new cars sold in France. Popular models include the Renault Megane E-tech, the Peugeot e-208, as well as the Renault Zoe and the Fiat 500e hatches.
Whilst the popularity of small electric cars on the French market means better affordability for drivers, it can sometimes come at a cost to safety, however.
As The Driven reported in December, the latest generation Renault Zoe and the Dacia Spring both fell flat in European safety tests in what were referred to as “disappointing results.”
Laid down as blame for one star poor ratings were Renault’s failure to upgrade safety features in line with other models on the market, and Dacia’s reputation as a “master of frugal engineering” which saw it exclude lane assistance and emergency braking features.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model Y and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.