By Jill Guillaume
PARIS (Reuters) – Renault The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) unveiled its new French-made Renault 4 electric car at the Paris Motor Show on Monday, with President Emmanuel Macron announcing greater support for poor families to buy electric vehicles (EV) and a push for more domestic production.
In an interview with business daily Les Echos ahead of the exhibition visit, Macron said subsidies for electric cars for low-income families would rise to 7,000 euros ($6,826) next year from 6,000 euros, while it would drop to 5,000 euros for other French buyers.
He added that a “social leasing” scheme to help low-income families get an electric car for €100 per month would start in early 2024.
Most electric vehicles are currently more expensive than the fossil fuel equivalents and unaffordable to many.
“We have an industrial strategy in place for people to buy more and more French (cars),” Macron told Les Echos.
Renault’s new electric vehicle, a small SUV with stylistic nods to the iconic 4-liter sedan of the 1960s, will be produced at the automaker’s Maubeuge plant in northern France and go on sale in 2025.
The lack of French-made electric vehicles is a particularly sensitive topic at a home auto show where Chinese brands have a strong presence.
Aside from the old Renault ZOE, the new Megane, the Kangoo van and two small SUVs made by Stellantis’s Opel and DS brands, all the 100% electric models sold abroad are assembled by the French automakers.
Macron told Les Echos that after concentrating Renault EV production in Douai and Maubeuge, he will appear with Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares at the Paris Motor Show to announce homemade electric or hydrogen models.
According to a source close to Stellantis, these models could include electric versions of the Peugeot (OTC 🙂 408 and 308, currently only available in combustion engines and hybrid versions assembled at Mulhouse.
Renault 4 will join the new electric Kangoo model, produced at Maubij, and the new Megane, manufactured in Douai. The Scenic and Renault 5 electric car will also enter production at Douai by 2024.
The Renault group aims to go fully electrified by 2030, and on Investor Day on November 8 it is set to outline its strategy to create a unit focused on electrification and software, the main focus of the auto industry.
A separate unit will specialize in its old business making cars with an internal combustion engine.
Asked about increasing subsidies for electric vehicles made in Europe, as the United States did with a recently passed inflation-reduction law, Macron told Les Echoes he had favored that approach for years.
“I am a strong advocate of a European preference,” he said.
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