French MP aims to accelerate EV fleet growth

Assembly member does not think existing legislation is sufficient or adequately policed

French MP aims to accelerate EV fleet growth
French MPs are being asked to stiffen fleet ZEV targets and enforcement

Damien Adam, a member of France’s National Assembly, has this week tabled legislation aimed at bringing forward zero emissions vehicle targets for non-private vehicle buyers in the country. And he wants any changed law to have significantly more bite than existing regulations.

Adam notes that companies buy more than half of all new cars sold in France every year, and thus “have a great influence on the demand for new vehicles”. “As these cars are resold after three or four years of use, they also help to shape the supply on the second-hand market, where nine out of ten households get their supplies,” he continues.   

The existing Mobility Orientation Law and the Climate and Resilience Law include obligations to ‘green’ the professional car fleet. From 2022 until 2030, private groups with large fleets (100+ light vehicles) must include an increasing minimum share of low-emission vehicles — defined as emitting less than 50g CO2/km — as part of their annual fleet renewal: 10pc from 2022, 20pc from 2024, 40pc from 2027 and 70pc from 2030.

Ignorance is bliss

But Adam argues that these provisions are “insufficient”, citing a March 2023 report by NGO Transport & Environment. Also, in the absence of a control and sanction mechanism, existing law is not being respected, Adam says.

In 2022, 66pc of companies impacted were not in line with the obligation to incorporate at least 10pc of low-emission vehicles as part of the renewal of their fleets, according to Adam. Almost all of them are also unaware of the legal reporting obligation under the law, he suggests.

That same year, only 6.5pc of new light vehicles integrated into these fleets were electric, “with no significant difference between the companies covered by the law and the others”, Adam notes. “For comparison, purchases of new fully electric vehicles amounted to 13.8pc in the same period for individuals, an increase in sales of 131.5pc compared to the previous year.”

And this “all the more problematic as the final level of ambition — 70pc from 2030 — now appears insufficiently high given the end of sale of thermal vehicles in 2035 decided at European level”.

Adam’s proposed bill has three elements. Firstly, Article 1 sets a trajectory for renewing private vehicle fleets to reach 95pc of very low-emission vehicles (i.e. excluding PHEVs, which qualify as low-emission currently) by 2032. It also looks to set new intermediate thresholds:

  — 20pc from January 2024;

  — 30pc from January 2025;

  — 40pc from January 2026;

  — 50pc from January 2027;

  — 60pc from January 2028;

  — 70pc from January 2029;

  — 80pc from January 2030;

  — 90pc from January 2031;

  — 95pc from January 2032.

The vehicles covered will include mopeds, light motorcycles with a maximum power greater than or equal to 1kWh, light quadricycles, light vehicles and some light commercial vehicles (LCVs) — with obligations on LCVs potentially increasing over time to eventually tend towards the same greening obligation as light vehicles. Vehicle rental companies with more than 100 vehicles are also subject to these obligations, including short-term vehicle rental companies.

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Secondly, Article 2 strengthens enforcement. It adds to the obligation to declare the level of achievement of the objectives defined in Article, for companies which are subject to it — companies with more than 500 employees, listed on a regulated market, whose balance sheet exceeds €20mn ($21.7mn) or whose net turnover exceeds €40mn.

And it introduces an obligation to transmit to the administrative authority information relating to the implementation of these obligations for the companies subject to them, including the percentage of very low emission vehicles among the vehicles which have been subject to renewal during the previous year. Finally, a sanction mechanism is established in the event of breaches of these obligations, resulting in a fine of up to €10,000 and up to €20,000 in the event of a repeat offense.

Thirdly, it introduces a proportionate sanction mechanism for subject companies which do not respect the objectives set for them in Article 1 — a progressive fine of up to 1pc of French turnover (Article 3 of the proposed law) and a restriction access to public markets (Article 4).

Earlier this week, Luca de Meo, CEO of France's Renault, praised French political ambition to encourage the transition to electric, contrasting it with Germany's retreat from BEV subsidies

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