France to build EV network with ambition plans for sales expansion

23 May 2018

23 May 2018

The French government wants sales of electrified vehicles to top one million by 2022, putting measures in place to make this plan achievable.

Like the UK, France is planning to ban the sale of conventional petrol and diesel engines by 2040, in an effort to reduce air pollution across the countries. It has now unveiled a strategic contract with domestic manufacturers Renault and PSA, together with a number of parts suppliers, in order to accelerate growth in electric vehicle (EV) and hybrid sales.

The government hopes for 600,000 zero-emission vehicle sales in four years, together with 400,000 plug-in hybrid (PHEV) registrations. Currently, France has 139,000 EVs on the road, and just 40,000 PHEVs, out of around 35 million registered vehicles.

To achieve this plan, ministers and companies understand the need to reassure vehicle buyers over fears such as range anxiety. Therefore, the state plans to create a vehicle charging infrastructure to match its ambitious targets. Currently, there are around 20,000 charging stations in France, with plans to increase this to 100,000 in four years. This does not include domestic charging points.

′These measures, as well as the longer battery life and the fuel savings achieved when owning an electric vehicle, should help to lift the reluctance of our compatriots,’ said Minister of Ecological and Solidary Transition Nicolas Hulot.

A total of €300 million will be used to build the charging points, and maintain them over a five year period. This will also help to fund incentives to bring more drivers to the technology.

When France’s climate plan was announced in July 2017, Hulot stated that the 2040 ban target, which boosts EVs as a result, was ′a tough one,’ and that the government would have to make investments to meet it.

This is the latest automotive announcement to be made by France’s government, following President Emmanuel Macron’s declaration of a legislative framework for 2019 to place the country ‘at the forefront of experimentation and industrialisation’ of autonomous vehicles, a framework that would allow the French builders to conduct campaigns of experimentation to advance the development of such vehicles.

Now, this has been expanded, with Minister for the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, announcing plans to authorise driverless vehicle tests on public roads around the country by 2019.

′The State will launch in June a call for projects, endowed with €40 million, to support an experimental program of autonomous vehicles representing more than €200 million of investments,’ he said.