By on February 6, 2015

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Starting in April, France will encourage diesel drivers to replace their oil burners with electric power through an incentive up to €10,000 ($11,422 USD).

Automotive News Europe the incentive would help “convince buyers to try an electric car,” per a Renault representative. The automaker’s Zoe would leave the showroom with a price of €12,400 ($14,203) instead of €22,400 ($25,658), while its partner Nissan would see a drop from €18,090 ($21,650) to €14,390 ($16,483).

France Energy Minister Ségolène Royal says the nation “must eliminate old diesel cars that are more than 13 years old and have no filters,” adding that measures will make diesel “harder and harder” to use overall.

One measure in particular would align diesel taxes with those of gasoline. The alignment would help reduce smog, according to Royal, stating that “60 percent of the French population breathes air that isn’t healthy.”

At present, 80 percent of all French drivers move about with diesel power, though new-diesel sales have declined over the past two years, from 73 percent of all new cars to 64 percent.

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62 Comments on “France Encouraging Diesel Drivers To Go Electric Via €10K Incentive...”


  • avatar
    indi500fan

    I was in St. Maarten last week and noticed in the 7 years since I’d been there previously most of the little Citroens and Peugeots have been replaced by Kias and Hyundais.

    I asked a taxi driver and he said “French cars are sheet, mon, the transmissions don’t last on the hills here.”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Last time I was there we rented an Accent. I don’t know how much worse French cars could be. The time before, we rented a Wrangler. The Wrangler seemed too big for the roads in St Maarten. Hopefully they have an EcoSport, Dacia Duster, or Citroen Cactus next time.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed bball. Not much worse than na Accent. Horrid car. When I travel I make it a point to get a local car. No matter what.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @bball,
        In 2013 in France I hired a little diesel Yaris. Used 5 litres per hundred.

        It was a great size to even drive around the Bastides.

        The Yaris was good once you get inside.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I’ve had a Yaris as a rental before, nothing offensive about it in the right setting. I wouldn’t take it across the outback or from LA to San Fran.

          • 0 avatar
            SELECTIVE_KNOWLEDGE_MAN

            One has to laugh at the notion that a similar Fiat (the Punto) or peugeot (that would be the 208) would be more fun because their diesels are “simply better”. The diesels in this size range are pretty much identical. It is all about sound insulation and weight. The Yaris is both well sound insolated and light. These cars are pretty much identical, and if you don’t want a car beyond warranty then Peugeot and Fiat are perfectly fine as far as reliability comes. Neither will leave you stranded before 100k.

        • 0 avatar

          Seems like Asian brands dump their wares into Euro rental fleets, smiles.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Hey Marcelo,
            The Yaris was a little bit of a surprise to me.

            It drove on the autoroutes at 150kph with no drop in performance.

            I took my French cousin into Spain so she could do some Basque food shopping. Yes, I drove her for hours! To buy some pork and stuff like that.

            I bought a 3 litre bottle of Chivas Regal for 110 Euros!

            The Yaris went through the Pyrennes quite easily. It wasn’t a race though, it was quite leisurely.

            The Yaris in typical Toyota fashion was quite limited in what I expected as bling.

            In Australia I don’t know if we can buy a car with so little in it.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Oh, I didn’t see on F Series truck in Espange.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Big Al

            Well, though here the situation is improving (I’m sure you’ve read my reports on the New Brazilian Consumer), we can have cars with very little. Basically a steering wheel and 4 tires, há!

            But as to the Yaris. Sure it’s competente. Haven’t driven one. But from what I read, it’s a little Toyota. With all the good and bad that entails. Surelly a Peugeot or a Fiat would have been more fun crossing the Pyrennes. Ples, their diesels are just better.

            Reliability, yeah, ok. To me the reliability train has left the station, all are basically reliable nowadays. Move on now. Sort of like Volvo and safety in the past. Or risk becoming Volvo.

      • 0 avatar
        indi500fan

        Well if I go back in another 7 years and there are still a lot of Korea cruisers, we can perhaps assume they won the durability battle.

  • avatar
    Featherston

    This is less about diesel and more about nuclear power – fallout from the Messmer Plan, if you will.

    • 0 avatar

      I would say it’s mostly about nuclear power. Unlike any other major country, France gets almost all of its electricity from nuclear (the US gets about 20% from nuclear). A problem with nuclear is that it’s very hard to vary the output of a plant, so at night, the nukes produce a lot more juice than France needs. Having a major electric fleet would change that.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        It may also be an indirect subsidy for Renault. The French government is part of the ownership, and automakers do provide high-wage blue-collar jobs.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @bball40dtw……….and Pch101,
          Here’s an interactive map (bball) showing the economic freedom of nations.

          It seems the French in comparison to the US is the same as the US is in comparison to Australia concerning economic freedom and government interference.

          I do recall the US government handing out billions in TARP to the US auto makers and the socialist unionist UAW.

          Or how much does the US hand out and subsidise wasteful corn farmers, EVs, etc.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Sorry, I don’t know what happened the map.

            http://www.heritage.org/index/heatmap

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            According to your linked graph there’s a 5 point difference between the US and AU overall and a 14 point difference between the US and France

            So how can you say this?

            “It seems the French in comparison to the US is the same as the US is in comparison to Australia concerning economic freedom and government interference.”

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Lie2me,
            I was waiting for that one!

            The US is a different colour than Australia. (joke)

            The French government is heavily involved in it’s industry. It essentially has it’s finger in every pie.

            Australia has slipped a little as well which is very disappointing.

            But I do think our colour green is better than the US’s green colour and the French mustardy colour is just atrocious.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            I wasn’t going by the colors I was going by the actual numbers which more accurately accounts for the differences

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        You may have a point about time of day load balancing for French nukes. The US has been able to balance load just by wheeling power to third shifts in industrial plants. By 2000 overall load factor for US nukes was, as I recall, over 90% indicating they were mostly operating flat out except for maintenance down time.

        In France, if memory serves, nukes represent about 80% of installed capacity. There is probably not enough middle of the night electricity demand to absorb the surplus capacity. If so, the (incremental) delivered cost of midnight hour electricity would be less than a penny (USD) per kilowatt hour. Since time of day meters are now relatively cheap, maybe it has, at last, become a good idea. It would be interesting to see the numbers.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @jimbob457,
          There is a lot of cross border trade in power in the EU.

          The UK relies on the French for their peak demand. I would assume the industrious Germans, Belgians, Spanish and even the Dutch rely on some French electricity.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            @bafo

            To balance time of day load from a nuke think about selling power at 4am. Not much market to begin with – say 1985. It took 10 or 15 years to fully develop the industrial 4am power market in the US where only 20% of installed capacity is nuclear.

            This required time of day metering so you can tell just when the customer drew the power. For big volume industrial customers this has never been a major cost issue. For retail customers it has only recently been economically feasible. My local electric utility actually offers an optional rate plan where electricity between midnight and 6am is FREE. Just the thing for the gro lites down in the basement garden.

            No doubt French nuclear power is wheeled all over Europe. My initial thought was this should provide enough market for French 4am power, but maybe not or at least not yet. Still, home charging stations for EV cars to tap the 4am off-peak electric power market? I would have to see the data on that.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @jimboob (bafo? WTF? use my name, ie Al, Big Al or Big Al from Oz)

            I’ve stated this on numerous occasions, want my “respect”, simple solution. Get the picture? I will have intelligent dialogue with any one worthy of it. BAFO won’t.

            A cut and paste from the link provided.

            “3. Changing role of electric power
            The main sectors of final energy consumption in EU-27+ in 2008 were in the areas of
            residential (24.6%), transport (32.6%) and industry (27.9%), while for the electricity
            consumption the sectors of the industry (40.4%), the households (28.2%) and the
            services (26.7%) were dominant. The transport sector has only a share of 2.5% on
            total electricity consumption but 32.6% on total energy use.”

            …………………………………….

            As you can see in the EU only 2.5% of electrical power generation is used for transportation.

            http://www.eurel.org/home/taskforces/documents/eurel-pv2040-short_version_web.pdf

            …………………………………….

            This link displays the EU is far more integrated with power distribution than you assume. No different than electrical power generation between individual States, same as Australia.

            http://www.rte-france.com/en/article/french-electricity-grid-pivotal-europe-s-energy

            …………………………………….

            Here a cut and paste and the article from Reuters.

            “PARIS, Jan 23 (Reuters) – France’s net electricity exports rose by 6.8 percent in 2013, making it Europe’s biggest power exporter, although it remained a net importer from Germany for the second year in a row, French power transmission grid operator RTE said on Thursday.”

            http://in.reuters.com/article/2014/01/23/france-power-rte-idINL5N0KX1QB20140123

            …………………………………….

            If I remember correctly you stated you were an economist of sorts. This information and data if you read it all might alter your perception of the EU energy situation.

          • 0 avatar
            jimbob457

            @big al from oz

            Sry. I had no idea you were so sensitive to bafo.

            I am, in fact, an economist with a PhD in the subject. For a few years in the 1990’s I was Chief Economist for the Louisiana Public Service Commission which regulates electric utilities in that state. This is one reason I happen to know about the technical details of the electric utility industry.

            The data you provided confirms the obvious. France is trying to load balance its nukes by wheeling power to the rest of the EU. I think I will go see if Google can provide a link to the key statistic which is the annual load factor for French nukes.

      • 0 avatar
        jimbob457

        @ David C. Holzman

        I would say the French EV subsidy proposal really is very much about time of day load balancing. The French committed so heavily to nukes (having no domestic fuel sources to speak of) they ended up with 80% of their installed capacity nuclear. It is now down to 75%, and they project it at 55% by 2025. This compares to 20% in the US today. The French electric authority is quite open in their discussions about the difficulties in time of day load balancing with nukes.

        In the US over the years we developed an industrial market for electricity for the midnight to dawn hours. Annual load factor for US nukes today is, consequently, over 90% (about a practical max given the need for maintenance downtime). In France it is 77%. They have a ways to go, and charging up EV’s overnight would help. The incremental cost of off-peak power from a nuke is still probably around a penny USD per kwh. It was 0.2 cents in the early 1990’s.

        The whole enterprise is probably projected to be a money maker. The idea is that the incremental profits from the extra electricity sales recover the initial subsidy over time. This is a fairly normal thing for public utilities to do.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    “France Energy Minister Ségolène Royal says the nation “must eliminate old diesel cars that are more than 13 years old and have no filters,” adding that measures will make diesel “harder and harder” to use overall.”

    This isn’t a bad idea. If you’ve spent any time choking on fumes in a major European city, it’s very apparent.

    “One measure in particular would align diesel taxes with those of gasoline. The alignment would help reduce smog, according to Royal, stating that “60 percent of the French population breathes air that isn’t healthy.””

    This is a good thing. Tax advantages that worked to benefit trucks and European OEMs (because Asian and American cars didn’t have competitive diesels for some time) haven’t been great for health.

    • 0 avatar
      RogerB34

      France GDP 2012 and 2013 was 0.3 percent each year. Barely growing. 2014 not out yet but likely negative. They are out of euros for social and enviro spending.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @Psarhjinian,
      This link might change your mind a little.

      I think the map is in real time. So watch the pollution levels vary throughout the day.

      You comment is only true in the old “Iron Curtain” countries. Western Europe is not much different than the US.

      Also consider the density of EU cities in relation to US and Australian cities.

      http://aqicn.org/map/world/#@g/-40.7734/-160.3585/3z

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Thanks Al. Interactive maps are awesome. I am glad I don’t live in Turpan, China.

        Since you travel a lot do you really find pollution in large European cities to be the same as NY or LA? I’ve been to NYC and LA in the summer and I thought various European cities had more air pollution. Paris seemed worse than even my neighborhood in Detroit that got incinerator fumes if the wind blew right.

        I have only been to Europe once though. The military liked to keep me in Central Asia or South America.

        • 0 avatar

          Where in SA? Officially only Colombia I’d think…

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Hey Marcelo,
            Good to see your input here.

            Do you live in Sao Paulo or was it Belo Horizonte?

            It seems Sao Paulo is bad for the body and mind!

            Don’t go there!

            Only joking!

            I’ve found out that Sao Paulo has some serious air quality issues. This supports your comment the other day regarding the number of vehicles per captia in Sao Paulo.

          • 0 avatar

            Hey Big Al. Kind of crazy, but SP has actually improced, quite a bit over the last few years. Soon, motorcycles will have measures to clean them up. Nowadays, even the lowliest bikes here pollute something like 10 times more than a modern car. Almost a free exhaust. Was supposed to start last year, but was delayed to this year (honda, cough, cough, cough, literally as they own 70% of that Market here).

            Luckily I’m in BH. But yes I have noticed pollution increasing. Here we have a lot of dust (the worst kind, metallic. Attacks timing belts like crazy, so much so that here the interval for change is always shorter as a preventive measure). From mining. Shut down that and voilà, 80% improvement.

            In other words,authorities in Brazil, it’s the industries not the cars!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            In addition to Columbia, I’ve been to Salvador, Brazil and Santiago, Chile. I had friends living in both cities at the time. I would like to go back to South America, especially Brazil. I also would like to go to Argentina.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes, but I was thinking actual, potential, live fire situations? Not as a liason or institutional presence, or training maybe. I seem to remember some US bombing in Colombia on coke fields and what not. That is why I asked if only Colombia. Normal relations, ok. Training great. Live fire, uh oh.

            BTW, always a major pain to receive a US President here. With all the gun carrying security. Must always break a few laws here to even make it possible, :).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            In terms of my military service, I have been in Columbia and parts of neighboring countries. I was there mostly in a training capacity. The CIA runs the show down there, or at least they were. Columbian-American relations are weird. There were live fire situations, but I was always glad that I wasn’t in terrible, terrible Afghanistan. I can at least see hope in SA. The biggest issue is the narcotic appetite that the rest if the world has.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks bball. I can sleep easier now, :).

            One day I’ll tell the stories of living in Colombia. Great country, lots of future, beautiful, kind people, genuine love for their country, so torn by the apetite you mention.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @bball,
          I’ve literally spent weeks in Paris and I didn’t find the pollution as bad or worse than any other major city.

          As for the smells, I even found just going from Australia to the US I can identify a different “fragrant” atmosphere.

          How much of that is from motor vehicles.

          But, remember in Paris very few would even want to drive. The older inner city has a terrible road network. Many one lane each way roads etc.

          Here are some interesting links. Good info that might offend some;)

          http://wdi.worldbank.org/table/3.13

          http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.PM10.MC.M3/countries?display=map

          I use the Metro. The best way to travel in Paris. A Metro station is within a quarter of a mile at the furthest normally.

          I can see why EU cities want to impose a tax for vehicles to enter the inner city regions.

          Judging by the Paris conjestion I don’t think it’s any worse.

          Geography has a lot to do with pollution levels as well. Sydney in the 70s apparently had pollution levels as bad as Tokyo did back then, worse than 70s LA.

          ……………………………..

          A cut and paste and link.

          The Most Polluted Megacities

          Seven of the megacities had three or more pollutants which exceeded WHO health protection guidelines, Mexico City, Beijing, Cairo, Jakarta, Los Angeles, Sao Paulo and Moscow. Mexico City was classified as having serious problems for sulphur dioxide, suspended particulate matter, carbon monoxide and ozone plus moderate to heavy pollution for lead and nitrogen dioxide. Mexico City suffers in particular due to its high altitude and climate which results in poor ventilation, in addition to the large number of old and poorly maintained vehicles.

          http://www.air-quality.org.uk/11.php

          …………………………..

          ———-NOW THE TRUTH———-

          http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2013-07-31/hollande-seeking-10-6-billion-from-diesel-irks-carmakers

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Al-

          I’ve been to Mexico City and it has the worst air pollution I’ve ever experienced. It’s terrible. It’s geography doesn’t help, but it’s bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            bball,
            Read the last link I provided.

            It’s the truth behind this crazy French notion of taxing diesel to replace them with EVs.

            I believe if a government meddles too much they tend to screw things up.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Oh we agree Al. This subsidy is dumb. It’s a waste of money.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            Beijing is much, much worse! It’s unconscionable, but it’s Communist.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Try to keep in mind that these imbeciles incentivized everyone into diesels in the first place. Maybe they should leave the market alone, since they’re clearly as stupid as anyone that thinks they’re smarter than markets in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @CJinSD,
        The reality is France isn’t that much different than the US in relation to how it manages it’s energy business from a ethanol vs canola oil.

        The French and US are just a little polarised. The US encourages gasoline energy use and hinders diesel development. The French are the opposite.

        If the US increase gasoline tax in line with diesel tax it would be fairer.

        The US government subsidises corn farmers for ethanol, the French canola for bio diesel.

        If the French removed its subsidisation of it’s canola farmers, introduce an equitable diesel tax and used the money to balance the books a little better you really couldn’t disagree.

        Now they will be more akin to the US, penalising or equalising diesel in favour of EV. Even then the US still penalises diesel.

        Don’t confuse overall taxation with favouring a particular segment. Having higher overall taxation on fuel is across the board.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        CJ,

        Which country is absolutely neutral in its automotive incentives? It’s certainly not the US, where you can write-off an Expedition but not a smaller car, and where elected representatives are indentured to big business to finance their constant re-election campaigns.

        Fact is that encouraging diesels made sense in France back in the day because they import almost 100% of their oil. It makes less sense now because of pollution and because non-oil alternatives are becoming available. Remember as well that the French state pays for health care, so they directly pay the economic cost of health liabilities. In the US, we often get caught-out by the fallacy of “cancer=profit!”, without taking into account the fact that there are more beneficial uses of resources than oncology (even if it is very profitable).

  • avatar
    jdash1972

    Texas had Cash for Clunkers and offered $3000 to replace an older car with a new one. The transaction was done at the dealer when you bought a new car. But again, not everyone can cope with the limitations of an electric car.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Man, paying people e10,000 to buy a car.
    Ain’t that kinda taking from the poor to help the rich?
    My worry is that there’s a lot of people stuck in old clunker diesels, who will presumably pay for these incentives via higher fuel taxes, but who themselves couldn’t afford the incentivized cars.

  • avatar
    furiouschads

    This will allow the French to shift some of their transportation energy use to their nuclear power plants that need more consumers in the middle of the night. Charge overnight at low rates, drive during the day.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    It seems odd to me that today’s diesel drivers have already received an incentive to buy a diesel-powered car, and now are presented with another incentive to switch to electric. Meanwhile, gasoline drivers get nothing to switch, or is their incentive merely less?

    Don’t forget that Nissan-Renault currently sell the world’ most prolific EVs, so I’m sure politics is involved – not just science.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The main reason is that the older diesel engines are turning out to be a bit problematic.

      They are better than gasoline engines when it comes to CO2 and fuel economy, but far worse when it comes to NOx and particulate matter (PMs) emission, which everyone is beginning to realize is just as bad as pumping tons of CO2 into the atmosphere. Europe historically did not pay as much attention to those as they should have in their emission regulations. Oops.

      To put it simply for a long time Europe was focused on increasing fuel economy (and by extension, CO2 emissions) while the US was focused on lower emissions (hence no separate standards for gasoline and diesel engines like Europe had). Now, of course, the realization is both are important so you are seeing Europe focusing hardcore on lower emissions and the US on better fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Maybe the US should move to the ENCAP model and harmonise it’s vehicle regulations with the rest of the world.

        This saves money as the “love” is shared financially.

        It seems the US is attempting to re-invent the wheel. It’s already been invented in this case.

        Different to just be different costs.

        Now with this EV direction of the French they will be in more competition with the US, much more than previously.

        I’d bet the French will be quite competitive with EV tech, as competitive as the best.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    The French economy isn’t doing very well and they do this?

    How much will the country gain? Very little there are more important problems in France that need addressing first.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I have posted a link several months ago or so which showed the French government (Hollande) was looking at ways to increase it’s tax base. One of the instruments the French government indicated it could use was the increase in the diesel (gazol) tax.

    The French utopian dream is costing more than they cons!dered.

    Diesel in France is currently taxed at a much lower rate than gasoline. I do think this is connected to this move to EV.

    Look at it this way. The French people will still have a large portion of it’s vehicles with diesel.

    They will collect more revenue from diesel, whilst artificially creating a larger EV market to challenge the other heavily subsidised nations with their EV programs, ie, USA, Germany, Japan, etc.

    As a matter of fact the modern GDI engine emits a 1 000 fold more particulates than a modern diesel. Some food for thought.

    Next will be the fitting of particulate filters to GDI gasoline engines.

    Read the link.

    http://articles.sae.org/13624/

  • avatar
    Crosley

    What an incredible waste. As long as we’re talking about dumb ideas, what about paying people to leave Paris so there isn’t as much traffic congestion?

    No wonder the current Socialist President is France has such epically bad approval ratings along with an economy on the brink.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Merde! That bernie dutch government must be raking in the debt. What with this and all the extra terrorism security costs.

  • avatar
    JD321

    The French are just bratty parasitic monkey-children, aka Socialists.
    Almost as bad as the Greeks.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Because diesels have dirty, disgusting, cancerous emissions that kills babies before they’re born. Of course I’m not talking *new diesels*, but how do you pry the old, paid for, and simple/dead reliable, pre emission diesels out of owner’s loving hands???

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    The move to blindly increase FE with absolute zero concern for the heath of French and Euro nations is biting them in the A$$. The push for EVs is political on many levels, but mostly an attempt to undo the LITTLE mistake that likely kills more Europeans than cigarette smoke, before they figure it out.

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