What you should know before buying an electric vehicle

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Since January 1, 2023, the rules regarding the ecological bonus have changed. We take stock of the rules to be respected and the amounts involved, not to mention the conversion bonus. In total, you can recover 13,000 euros from the state with the purchase of an electric car.

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Article updated on January 1, 2023: If you have already considered or even dared to buy a new car, your dealer has probably already told you about the ecological bonus or penalty. If your purchase is recent and it is not an electric car, surely they have told you about the penalty. The ecological bonus-malus system is a kind of tax method encourage customers to opt for the purchase of a low emission vehicle in exchange for a financial consideration. On the contrary, if the purchased vehicle is considered too polluting, it will be taxed for a certain amount based on its polluting emissions, measured through the current certification cycle.

The ecological bonus-malus system is one of the first forceful measures adopted by the Grenelle de l’Environnement in October 2007. It is in line with the objectives of the European Union, which is to achieve a fleet of vehicles with a 130 g/km of CO2 and 95 g/km of CO2 in 2020. As you know, this bonus-malus system has evolved a lot since its enthronement.

If at first it could refer to thermal and hybrid cars, today it is no longer the case since it only concerns electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Why ? Due to the CO2 emission limit. To qualify, you must meet the following conditions:

  • it is a 100% electric or hydrogen vehicle;
  • be purchased (or leased with an option to purchase or for a period of at least two years);
  • be a new vehicle;
  • not be sold within 12 months of purchase or before at least 6,000 kilometers have been driven;
  • a natural person can only benefit from it once every 3 years;
  • the cost of acquiring the vehicle must be less than 47,000 euros;
  • the bonus is limited to 5,000 euros for individuals and 3,000 euros for legal entities (up to 27% of the purchase price);
  • the bonus can reach 7,000 euros (with a limit of 27% of the purchase price) for households with a unitary income of less than 14,089 euros;
  • weight (PTAC) less than 2.4 tons.

With the advent of the electric car and the leveling of the prices of electric cars, especially high-end ones, the government had to review certain points, in particular the amount of the bonus based on the price of the new vehicle, all taxes included. In this way, from January 1, 2020, not all electric cars are eligible for the ecological bonus. However, they are not eligible for the ecological penalty, which remains valid only for internal combustion cars that emit more than 122 g/km of CO.2.

What amounts of aid are available?

Here is, in detail, the level of aid as of July 1, 2022:

  • bonus of €5,000 for households that buy an electric vehicle for less than 47,000 euros including taxes;
  • bonus of €7,000 for households with a unitary tax base of less than 14,089 euros and who purchase an electric vehicle whose price is less than 47,000 euros including taxes;
  • bonus of €3,000 for legal entities that purchase an electric vehicle for less than 47,000 euros;
  • the bonus is limited in all cases to 27% of the purchase price of the electric car.

Note: when they are more advantageous, the rules in force before July 2022 (such as the bonus of 6,000 euros for electric cars under 47,000 euros and 2,000 euros for cars under 60,000 euros) are still applicable to a new vehicle ordered before December 31, 2022 inclusive, if invoiced before June 30, 2023. The same applies to a new vehicle whose rental agreement was signed before December 31, 2022 if the payment of the 1st rent is due. produced before June 30, 2023.

As you will have understood, if you buy an Audi e-tron or a Mercedes EQC today, two high-end 100% electric SUVs whose base price is around 80,000 euros, you will not be able to opt for the ecological bonus. The same happens with some cars that are between two waters, like the Tesla Model 3 Performance for example, with some options, which escapes the ecological plus.

Categories From July 1, 2022 to December 31, 2022
Electric vehicles (CO2 rate ⩽ 20g/km) below €47,000 27% of the price with a cap of €6,000
Electric vehicles (CO2 rate ⩽ 20g/km) below €47,000
(Moral person)
27% of the price with a cap of €4,000
Electric vehicles (CO2 rate ⩽ 20g/km) from €47,000 to €60,000 €2,000
Electric vans or vehicles powered by hydrogen (CO2 rate ⩽ 20g/km) over €60,000 €2,000
Plug-in hybrid vehicle (CO2 rate between 21 and 50g/km) from €50,000 maximum and autonomy > 50 km €1,000

With the gradual arrival of electric cars in the manufacturers’ ranges, but also with the democratization of technology and therefore the gradual reduction in prices, over the next few years, the ecological bonus will probably no longer exist. Its decline has already begun and will continue in 2023 with increasingly restrictive conditions (see the last chapter of this dossier).

Cars are not the only ones affected since so are two or three wheeled vehicles. Electric models can benefit from 900 euros of aid, as well as the purchase vouchers for an electric bicycle issued by the State, certain regions, departments and cities.

In addition to the ecological bonus, there are also other aids, such as the conversion premium (scrapping premium) that intervenes in the event of scrapping an old diesel car that is at least one year old and put into circulation before January 1, 2011 or a gasoline vehicle prior to 2006. It complements the ecological bonus and allows additional aid ranging from up to 6,000 euros for certain households. Or 13,000 euros accumulating the maximum bonus of 7,000 euros.

How can I claim my ecological bonus?

In most cases, you will have absolutely nothing to do since the bonus will be discounted directly from the price of the car with VAT included. The concessionaire thus advances the ecological bonus thanks to an agreement established with the Services and Payments Agency (ASP) which is in charge of studying the file. If your dealer doesn’t or refuses to, look elsewhere as most do.

If you really have no choice, you will need to fill out the payment request form with the ASP yourself. and be careful, must be submitted within six months from the new vehicle billing dateor, in the case of a lease, the date of payment of the first installment.

Is a car eligible for financial assistance?

The used electric car is entitled to an ecological bonus of €1,000as formalized by the Delegate Minister for Transport, Jean-Baptiste Djebbari, in mid-October 2020. They are also affected by the conversion bonus.

How does the ecological bonus work in a rental contract (LOA, LLD)?

There too, you won’t have to do anything since the ecological bonus will be deducted directly from the price of the car with VAT included and, therefore, the rentals will be correlated with the price of the new vehicle, bonus included. Some manufacturers also advertise attractive rentals for electric cars by offering to include the bonus directly in the first contribution. This also makes it possible to reduce the monthly payments quite significantly.

Are all electric cars affected?

As stated above, as of January 1, 2020, not all electric cars are affected. Only those who are below 47,000 euros will be eligible for the maximum bonus of 6,000 euros. Between 47,000 and 60,000 euros, the bonus is reduced to 2,000 euros and is even completely removed when the car exceeds the sum of 60,000 euros.

For companies it is a little different since the maximum bonus is 4,000 euros for a car whose price is less than 47,000 euros. Beyond and up to 60,000 euros, the bonus is 2,000 euros.

Are hybrid and plug-in hybrid cars affected?

These are plug-in hybrids as long as they meet certain criteria already mentioned above: cost less than 50,000 euros, offer more than 50 kilometers of autonomy and emit a CO2 rate of between 21 and 50 g/km. For this type of vehicle, the ecological bonus amounts to 1,000 euros. It is still relevant today.

What future for the ecological bonus in France?

In the short term, the ecological bond should last a few more years, although it is beginning to decline. It will continue to decrease as time goes by. during the next few months. The maximum bonus has already dropped from 7,000 to 6,000 euros on July 1, 2021, then from 6,000 to 5,000 euros on January 1, 2023, from 5,000 to 4,000 euros for legal entities. Cars over 47,000 euros are no longer even entitled to the bonus.

In the future, will the bonus disappear completely? Surely in the medium term, when the electric car advocated by the legislator has invaded the market and the purchase of a new thermal car, or even a second-hand one, will undoubtedly become impossible.

In the long run, there is nothing to stop a government from putting in place a green bonus system, especially if a new technology, said to be even more environmentally friendly, comes to interfere with the automotive sector.

For the rechargeable hybrid, we should see the disappearance of the bonus and the different aids (absence of TVS and malus for companies) in the coming years, as can be seen in the will of the European Commission.

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