France turns its back on gas and diesel vehicles

France’s electric vehicle development forms part of its new clean energy strategy.
Published: Fri 21 Jul 2017

By 2040, there will be no gas and diesel vehicles on France’s roads. This forms part of the country’s new energy strategy, 'One Planet, One Plan' , which was presented recently by the Ecology Minister, Nicolas Hulot.

The ban on gas and diesel comes as a result of the government’s growing concern around air pollution caused by diesel-powered vehicles. The seriousness of the issue was highlighted when Volkswagen’s diesel vehicles' poor environmental performance in 2015 was exposed.

The move also forms part of President Emmanuel Macron's commitment to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

While other countries have already started making plans to phase out gas and diesel vehicles, France is the first EU country to set a target date to work towards. To reach this ambitious target, Hulot said that financial incentives to trade in older, polluting vehicles for newer and cleaner ones will be put in place. The country also promises to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2022, as well as cut its reliance on nuclear power to below 50% by 2025.   

France’s transition to e-mobility

France's car industry isn't badly placed for the transition to EVs. Renault's Zoe is currently one of the best-selling electric vehicles in Europe, according to a report compiled on the European EV market. Renault also has a strategic partnership with Nissan, manufacturer of the all-electric Leaf.

The French government has also announced an investment plan to support the charging infrastructure. An estimated one million public and private battery-charging stations will be built under the plan, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

A reliable charging infrastructure, backed by a national installation strategy, is required to ensure sufficient driving range, says the IEA.

France is planning to deploy this infrastructure for the following groups:

Enterprises: Charging infrastructure will be installed for captive fleets of plug-in vehicles, such as corporate fleets. The possibility of “plug-in benefits” will be considered, such as allowing employees to recharge their personal or company cars at their place of work with low or no cost. Added power demand for charging would be managed.

Public domain: Plug-in vehicles and charging infrastructure will also be deployed in public areas, such as roadways and public parking garages. Suitable options for use are being developed, such as shared vehicles and vehicles on demand.

Residential sector: Plug-in vehicles and charging infrastructure will be made available to individual users, with or without vehicle ownership.

EVs to become a global strategy

Countries across Europe and further afield are trying to limit transport-related pollution. In fact, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that EVs will outsell gasoline-powered vehicles within two decades.

Adoption of EVs is already underway by taxi service companies Uber and Lyft, which are adding fleets of EV models. Lyft has a relationship with GM and is adding Chevrolet’s all-EV Bolt’s to their fleet. In Europe and China, many of the transportation companies are already using Teslas.

In London, UK, an ultra-low emission zone will be designated from April 2019 where drivers of selected diesel vehicles will be forced to pay £24 a day. In Germany, the government has pledged to put one million EV’s on the road by 2020.

Swedish vehicle manufacturer Volvo has also recently announced that it will stop selling cars with traditional internal combustion engines by 2019, selling only hybrid and pure EVs. The vehicle manufacturer has already abandoned diesel because of the stricter emission targets established by the EU. The company said that between 2019 and 2021 they’ll launch five new electric vehicles.

India has also said it intends to ban sales of traditionally powered vehicles by 2030.


Related Webinar