Has the evolution of car taxation in Belgium influenced the French government in its desire to toughen ecological penalties? This is the question that is currently driving the debate, particularly due to the recent announcement of measures aimed at taxing the weight of electric cars. An idea which, despite its defenders, is far from unanimous.
The announcement by the Walloon government of Belgium to tax cars according to their weight, including electric vehicles, has undoubtedly challenged French political decision-makers.
In France, the preparation of a new ecological bonus for 2024 has been announced, with the introduction of a stricter environmental criterion. This aid will only be paid if the model has a good carbon footprint, a measure that aims to thwart Chinese brands.
But that’s not all: the French government also intends harden the ecological malus. Currently, the latter is based on two criteria: CO₂ emissions and vehicle weight. Electric cars are exempt from this tax, as they do not directly emit CO₂ and the weight is not taken into account.
Towards a hardening of the weight penalty?
Since its introduction on January 1, 2022, the weight penalty has not undergone any major changes. It strikes vehicles over 1,800 kg at the rate of 10 euros per kilo. However, plug-in hybrids with sufficient electric range and 100% electric models are exempt from this tax, a favor intended not to hinder the electrification of the automotive market.
But, in 2024, the rules could well change as relayed by the Automotive Journal. In addition to a possible reduction of the trigger threshold for the weight penalty, to 1.7 or even 1.6 tonnes, the Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, mentioned the possibility of extending this penalty to hybrid and electric vehicles, with specific regulations before the Senate Economic Affairs Committee.
The idea of taxing the heaviest electric cars divides. On the one hand, it encourages the use of lighter and less powerful vehicles, which is good for the environment (and our wallet). Especially since the weight of a vehicle does not greatly influence its consumption at high speeds; aerodynamics, or even the size and size of the wheels, are more determining factors. The weight mainly has an impact at low speed, during restarts in urban environments.
Some argue that “qanyone who can afford a big electric car can afford to pay a little more “. This policy could thus encourage the adoption of smaller and more affordable electric cars, helping to reduce inequalities and promote a transition towards more environmentally friendly vehicles.
On the other hand, such a measure could slow down the adoption of the electric car in all its forms, which would be regrettable in the face of the current ecological crisis. But as we have seen again recently, there is no point in having a lot of autonomy (and therefore a large and heavy battery): it is better to rely on ultra-fast charging.
The debate has only just begun. The draft for the 2024 law must be presented in September for application in 2024. The future of French automobile taxation is therefore at stake in the months to come. It will be crucial to follow these developments to understand what the implications will be for consumers and the automotive industry.