France's hallmark "social leasing" scheme for EVs has already been halted, even though it only started on January 1. The scheme, announced last December, would see low-income drivers that met some rather strict eligibility requirements (primarily an annual income under $16,500) able to lease EVs for dirt cheap, subsidized prices - as low as $107 to $161 per month, with no down payment.
Somehow, the French government wasn't ready for the response its plan got. It seems shocking to the French authorities that a lot of people would seize this opportunity to get a new car - but should it be? Isn't everyone constantly talking about how EVs need to be cheaper to truly 'make it'? And then when a scheme like this actually does make EVs affordable, there's consternation in the air regarding how many people wanted to take advantage.Peugeot e-208, part of the now-halted scheme
Anyway, initially the French government budgeted about $1.61 to offer a meager 20,000 leases under this scheme in 2024. Seeing the huge response, it's now upped that to 50,000 leases, but even so - there are no more slots left for this year. So the program will resume next year, and expect a similar headline from us in early 2025 as undoubtedly that year's slots will all be taken in a few weeks too, unless they are massively multiplied.
Another scheme sees the French government offering a cash incentive of between $5,400 and $7,500 to get more EVs on the road, at a total cost of $1 per year. These programs are designed in a way that prevents Chinese-made EVs (including the Dacia Spring) from qualifying for either, because European cheap is better than Chinese cheap, presumably (despite objectively being less cheap). Thus, the list of eligible models includes 24 made by Stellantis' various brands like Peugeot and Citroen and 5 by Renault, along with the Tesla Model Y.