The Minister of Economy and Finance Bruno Le Maire announces that no weight penalty is provided for electric cars. Good news which is however accompanied by another announcement concerning the ecological bonus, the conditions for obtaining which will change. The maximum weight of an electric car could be lowered to be eligible for the bonus.
The bonus / malus system has existed for many years now, since it was created in 2007 and came into force on January 1, 2008. The goal is then simple: to encourage motorists to abandon the purchase of thermal cars polluting in favor of cleaner models. But over the years, conditions have changed significantly.
Indeed, then this year, rechargeable hybrids are no longer eligible for an ecological bonus, as well as cars over 47,000 euros. Few know this, but electric cars weighing more than 2.4 tonnes are no longer affected either. Indeed, the government has been leading a hunt for a few years against too heavy cars. This is how since 2022, weight tax is applied on thermal vehicles, in addition to the penalty.
This applies to cars over 1.8 tonnes, with an amount of 10 euros per additional kilo. A ceiling of 50,000 euros is still provided, as for the penalty. But will this tax also apply to electric vehicles, which are generally much heavier than their thermal equivalents due to the weight of the batteries?
To tell the truth, this question is worth asking, while we know that the government wants to tighten the screw on the ecological bonus. He could take inspiration from Belgium, which plans to tax electric cars according to their weight. But this will not be the case, as explained by the Minister of Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire to the journalists of the site Auto Moto.
The latter were indeed able to question the politician, which closes the road to this extent dreaded by manufacturers and customers. He explains that “two things should not be confused: the penalty which is exclusively for thermal vehicles and on the other hand the bonus for vehicles below a certain weight“, without giving more details for the moment. In other words, buyers of an electric car will not have to pay a penalty. But the ecological bonus will continue to apply under the condition of respecting a maximum weight.
There is a but…
Something to reassure brands, especially those that offer models with great autonomy like Lucid, which is slowly arriving in Europe. Because in this case, it implies having large batteries, which weigh very heavily to the detriment of consumption, then on the rise. This is also why some brands like Ford have chosen to opt for smaller accumulators. And this could strongly benefit them in the future.
In fact, the government could decide to lower the threshold from 2.4 tonnes, as suggested by Bruno Le Maire. He asserted that the ” electric vehicle is particularly interesting for the climate when it is light“, adding that he “ would be unfortunate if all that we gain in CO2 emissions by switching from thermal to electric, we lost it by making the vehicles heavier“. It is rumored that the bonus may no longer apply to electric cars over 1.6 or 1.7 tonnes.
For example, a Dacia Spring weighs 975 kg, compared to 1.7 tonnes for the MG4 and the Renault Mégane E-Tech and 1.9 tonnes for the Tesla Model Y. The latter could therefore be deprived of bonuses depending on the weight. maximum to be decided by the government.
And it’s usually the battery that’s responsible for the high weight. In addition to the pollution generated during its manufacture, although it is not the most harmful element for the environment, it requires a large amount of lithium depending on its capacity. However, we know that a shortage can emerge if the demand is too strong. The rise of sodium accumulators or solid-state batteries could solve this equation.
This measure could in any case encourage manufacturers to opt for smaller packs, which have many advantages. Especially since the charging infrastructure is now more than sufficient to no longer need a great autonomy. Especially since that of the cars currently on offer are already sufficient, contrary to what many motorists think.
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