By on April 14, 2021

France is offering 2,500 euros (about $2,993 USD) to individuals interested in purchasing electrically driven bicycles. But it’s pursuing the Cash for Clunkers mentality that often leaves us questioning whether the people instituting these environmental plans are familiar with the concept of conservation. Because the current proposal requires participants to throw away their automobiles before they’re granted access to the funds.

Originally reported by Reuters, and presented to us by a reader sharing a Jalopnik article, the matter curiously requires e-bike riders to scrap a vehicle that’s almost guaranteed to be worth more than the voucher they’ll be exchanging it for.

Last week, lawmakers in the National Assembly (the lower house of the French Parliament) approved the measure in a preliminary vote as part of an amendment to a draft climate bill. The initiative is targeting a reduction of greenhouse emissions by 40 percent in 2030 against levels taken in 1990.

From Reuters:

If adopted, France will become the first country in the world to offer people the chance to trade in an ageing vehicle for an electric or folding bicycle, the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB) said.

“For the first time it is recognised [sic] that the solution is not to make cars greener, but simply to reduce their number,” said Olivier Schneider of the FUB.

While we’re not sure if scrappage programs are ever as environmentally sound as they claim to be, it’s difficult to argue that e-bikes will have a bigger carbon footprint than whatever they’ll be replacing. But they’ll also be ill-suited to the kind of long-distance traveling we typically use automobiles for and imagine most individuals interested in the program will eventually end up buying another car when they could have ran their old beater for a few more years. Unless they’re content with relying upon mass transit, that is.

The measure has yet to pass and seems a bit daft but we’re not ruling anything out. France has launched numerous pro-bike initiatives in the past and has been handing cash to people willing to buy electrified two-wheelers for a few years. For example, the country was offering local grants of between €100 and €600 for residents interested in purchasing an e-bike in 2019.

FUB seems incredibly interested in advancing the new proposal and was expressing its dismay with France’s rejection of several ideas it had launched to tie the financial support of bicycle purchases to the nation’s Climate and Resilience laws. In March, the group cited over a dozen examples of pro-bicycle proposals that were rejected — citing that they were ideal solutions to reducing transportation-related emissions and should have been supported, especially considering France’s support for cycling as a hobby/sport.

“This systematic refusal of the debate on active mobility in the Climate Act is incomprehensible,” the FUB stated over social media.

[Image: Kovop58/Shutterstock]

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48 Comments on “France Offering $3,000 Vouchers for E-Bikes if You Throw Away Your Car...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““For the first time it is recognised [sic] that the solution is not to make cars greener, but ***simply to reduce their number***,” said Olivier Schneider of the FUB.”

    Thar she blows.

    Hey FUB you, man.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    I’d love an e-bike but I am pretty sure it would be stolen the first time I chained it up outside a grocery store. Something that expensive and light…

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Considering what is going on in France…. It is like years-long Brooklyn Center.

      • 0 avatar

        What is going in France? I thought it is the happiest country in the world with idyllic villages, tasty food and fine wine.

        • 0 avatar
          MoDo

          Lol yeah right, like acid rain was a threat in the 90’s LMAO. I feel bad for the fools that fall for gov’t spewed crap. Q – are water levels rising? A – NOPE, taxes are though

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          France does have plenty of idyllic villages, tasty food and fine wine to go along with their political issues. Then again, I do believe the last time a mob of Frenchmen stormed a public building with insurrectionist intent was in the 18th century. The last time that happened in America was about three months ago.

          Maybe we should solve our own political issues before trashing France for theirs.

          (Here’s another fun fact: if not for France, we’d be singing “God Save The Queen” before baseball games.)

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            Why does the instrumental version sound familiar to me?

            https://youtu.be/LJ27xS27qyc

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            I don’t know @FreedMike…They were tearing up private businesses pretty well the last time I was there and had shut down a good chunk of the Metro.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Freed,

            change your name to BrainwashedMike.

            “insurrectionist intent”

            rrrrright

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            Freed,

            why don’t you sort your thinking a bit

            Violence Surges as Yellow Vests Attack French Government Ministry

            https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/world/europe/yellow-vests-protests-france-paris.html

            French farmers attack Macron’s party offices

            https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1159234/france-news-protest-yellow-vests-emmanuel-macron-LREM-EU-CETA-trade-deal-canada

            Protestors gather in Berlin and try to storm the Reichstag

            https://www.iamexpat.de/expat-info/german-expat-news/protestors-gather-berlin-and-try-storm-reichstag

            So, storming a government building is not an unusual event. But your democratic puppeteers trying to tell us that this is insurrection and you are happily carry their flag.

    • 0 avatar
      rudiger

      I would think that theft would be the biggest impediment to trying to replace an auto with a nice, comfortable, reliable e-bike. The same would apply to having a cheap auto, except it would be a whole lot harder to steal one of those.

      It’s definitely a conundrum. There are plenty of uber-expensive, lightweight bicycles, but those only seem to be used on round trips where the rider doesn’t stop anywhere for any length of time.

      With a dedicated commuter e-bike (particularly one with upgrades), parking and locking it up for an extended stay somewhere (restaurant, work, etc.) would definitely be taking a chance on it not being there when the owner returned.

    • 0 avatar
      beachy

      I converted a mountain bike to an e-bike, with saddle bags on a rack in back as well as foldable baskets. When the baskets are folded out, the saddlebags ride on top for addition/delicate groceries. The (homemade kit) battery rides in one of the saddlebags. I worried about it being stolen too, but the conversion makes it look like a homeless persons’ ride and it has never been touched. I do use the car once a month or so or in bad weather, but it sits a lot now, instead of being used often for errands (I am retired).

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Do you know why French tanks on the march turn turrets backwards?
    So they think they are advancing while leaving the battle.

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    are the shorts included?

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    The idiotic Green Party in Germany wants to give you a year’s worth of free public transportation if you give up your driver’s license and your car.

    I guess after one year of suffering through public transportation you’re going to have to pay. And public transportation is overpriced in Germany, like everything else.

    Are there people out there who are really that stupid and will fall for this scam?

    • 0 avatar

      “public transportation is overpriced”

      What? I thought it was free – no one asked for tickets. Cannot they make it free and tax billionaires?

      • 0 avatar
        ThomasSchiffer

        It is not free in Germany. If I remember correctly public transportation is free in certain Eastern European nations, or it is free for certain age groups (children and teenagers and senior citizens). But ‘free’ and ‘Germany’ do not go together. We are a rip-off tax nation, there are taxes on everything here.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          There are taxes on everything in the U.S. too. Then again, in Germany, you have socialized medicine, so you don’t go bankrupt if you need a triple bypass, and you don’t end up in debt forever because you had to finance your college education. The goodies in places like Germany cost money; that’s why taxes are so high.

          I have often wondered how people in Europe if their taxation and social safety net were more like America’s. Something tells me most folks wouldn’t like it very much.

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @FreedMike,

            That is all true. And it would work under ideal conditions. That is not the case anymore.

            Keep in mind that Germany is a classic example of a hard-working minority financing a borderline lazy majority. We are a nation of 83 million people of which 15 million are netto tax payers. And these 15 million continue to have less money available because of rising costs (fuel, energy, rent, income tax etc.).

            We have our share of lazy Germans who do not want to work and want to survive on social benefits, but our government also continues to allow people into this country who should not and have no right to be here. Without getting too deep into politics, these people who come in are not here because they want to work or integrate into German culture, they are here for social benefits. This insanity is already putting a strain on our social benefits, health and other services.

            The Germany you know is not the Germany I live in today. Doctors and qualified people are becoming rare, and we have an enormous brain drain in the form of almost 200,000 qualified Germans leaving the country every year to work abroad (Canada is a popular destination). Why? Because in Germany hard work is punished with high taxes, mobility (car ownership) is becoming increasingly unaffordable, rent in the city (and even in the countryside) has become alarmingly expensive, we have the highest electricity costs in the developed world and so forth. Intelligent people with skills are not coming to Germany – it is unattractive to work in a country where close to 50% of your income has to be paid to the government, the remaining 50% are spent on rent, energy costs, insurance, food and whatever little remains can be spent on other needs.

            It gets even worse. In September we have national elections. From the looks of it, we could be getting a Green-Red-Red government. Let me clarify this: eco-terrorists (Greens), radical socialists (SPD) and leftist radical communist extremists (Die Linke – a new name for the government which ran East Germany).

          • 0 avatar

            @Freed Mike: The army in Germany is not as big as in USA and does not participate in dozen of hopeless wars at any given time. And German politicians are more pragmatic and serve the people not their own bank accounts.

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          You know why you Germans are unhappy?

          1. you are still occupied by American occupational force, you’re not free
          2. you’re placed into un-natural position of being nice and polite, instead of being nasty, militaristic people who goes and conquers all around you.
          3. America stole all your best technology and instead of you having all the best Airplanes, space program, nukes, etc, America has it and Russians, who also took it from you and from you via US.
          4. your car manufacturers make cars in other countries. Would you buy US-built BMW? Depressing, I know
          5. you can’t go anytime you want to Koenigsberg
          6. you used to have 400 submarines and now only 6
          7. you’re building Israeli Navy
          8. your women don’t do very well @ miss Universe
          9. Russians copied your BMW motorcycle and now selling it in US under name Ural
          10. America will try to take away Nord Stream 2 from you and this will lead to high cost of production and less competitive pricing vs American products built in China

          • 0 avatar
            ThomasSchiffer

            @Slavuta,

            Your first point is correct, but it’s not because we’re still technically occupied by the Allied powers, it’s because we are slowly realizing that we’re not living in a free, democratic country. We live in a ‘Scheindemokratie’ (fake democracy).

            We elect political parties and that is the only ‘power’ we as people have. Who becomes chancellor or president (the latter being a totally worthless position in Germany) is decided by politicians in the largest and second largest political party after elections. And as we’ve realized over the last decade, these politicians (like Merkel) make terrible and life-changing decisions for a country without asking us, the people, first. Merkel decided to get out of nuclear power after the Fukushima incident. She opened the borders in 2015 for ‘refugees’ of which 70% were young men of military age who have and are behaving criminally here. Since this is a car site I won’t dive too deep into politics.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        German politicians serve their American and Corporate masters

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    “But they’ll also be ill-suited to the kind of long-distance traveling we people use automobiles”

    I take it you don’t realize that France 37% larger than California. They also have an effective fast rail system for longer distances.

    When you say “we people” you are obviously talking about Americans as opposed to the French that is being targeted by this. Oh and this is aimed more at city dwellers than rural people.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Yet even in Paris many people to this day continue to own automobiles.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @Art – my point is the fact that the article was written from an egocentric and US centric point of view.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          The readership of this site is mostly in the US. And I was simply pointing out that as good as the Metro in Paris is (Best mass transit system in the world IMHO) an awful lot of people still want a car and as a frequent winter visitor to Paris I can see why…nobody wants to ride a bike electric or otherwise in December there.

          I will say that since I first started going in the 90’s that most of the gas stations in the city are gone. Plenty of EV chargers though.

          Outside of Paris it is as car friendly as anywhere else.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            “Metro in Paris is (Best mass transit system in the world IMHO)”

            may be in the world.
            But vs Moscow is a poor man’s …

            Moscow 223 beautiful stations over 381 km
            Paris 303 rundown stations over 214 km

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Yeah but the Paris Metro takes people to places they actually desire to go to.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            I dunno. Moscow Metro – 10,000 trains, Paris < 1000. Looks like Moscow has more dedication to take you somewhere. Besides, its old stations are of museum quality buildings

            https://youtu.be/M0hpEqmyl3U

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        If I lived in Paris, there’s no way I’d own a car. Ditto for New York or London.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          If I lived in Paris, London, or NYC I’d need a car to be able to leave.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Paris is the only one where I’d consider not owning a car. The Metro is the one transit system I feel is good enough to outweigh the cons of car ownership. Still, It is a crowded mess at certain times of the day and I much prefer living places where I don’t have to rely on mass transit.

  • avatar
    brn

    So if you have an old junker sitting in the lawn, you can get a free e-bike?

    Sweet.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    Enjoy your bikes Frenchmen.

    Meanwhile, in China,

    “A total of 247 gigawatts of coal power is now in planning or development, nearly six times Germany’s entire coal-fired capacity. China has also proposed additional new coal plants that, if built, would generate 73.5 gigawatts of power, more than five times the 13.9 gigawatts proposed in the rest of the world combined.”

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Too bad for China that they are rapidly going to be stuck with an uncompetitively expensive power infrastructure. There’s a reason why here, where the market rather than Mr. Xi decides what will be built, coal is collapsing at a breathtakingly fast rate.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    @dal20402: And the reason natural gas is relatively cheap here is because of fracking–a practice that the party I suspect you support is on its way to banning.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      If the companies that engage in fracking were more transparent about the chemicals they’re leaving in the groundwater, I suspect a lot of the opposition to it would disappear.

      I mean, seriously…these guys spend zillions of dollars here in Colorado to run ads 24/7/365 – and not just during election seasons – on touchy-feely, fact-free ads to convince us how safe fracking is, and zillions more to buy our elected officials (former Denver mayor, state governor and current U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper included). It’s like my dad always said…when you have nothing but bulls**t to sell, you sell it ten times as hard. I smell a rat.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    True fact:
    • In the past month I have logged more miles on foot than by motor vehicle.
    • More miles by bicycle than motor transport as well.
    • And more kayak trips than fuel stops.

    This episode of My Boring Life is brought to you by The Future.

    [During the pandemic I have been getting tremendous use out of some infrastructure funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.]

  • avatar
    jimble

    When I was still commuting to work I used to commute by e-bike most days, 10 miles each way. And I was a 60-year-old with a heart condition. I was lucky to be able to keep the bike in my office so I didn’t have to worry about theft or juggle multiple bike locks all the time.

    In the US about half of all car trips are 5 miles or less, which is well within e-bike range (and within non-e-bike range for a healthy adult). There are lots of reasons why someone might prefer not to travel by bike — hills, lack of safe infrastructure, weather, etc. I used to ride happily in temperatures well under freezing but riding in the rain was the one thing I could never tolerate. Even if you travel primarily by bike (or foot or transit) you might feel the need to keep a car for some trips, but maybe a family could sell their second car to save on insurance, maintenance, and all that.

    It’s good to have options that are cheaper, healthier, and more sustainable than making all of your trips by car. It’s also nice to have your own car sometimes, too. I don’t drive mine very often but I’m not planning to sell it anytime soon.

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