France Plans To Make Dirt Cheap 100 Euro/Month Lease Options Possible For Entry-Level EVs

France 100 Euro Ev Lease Topshot

While the entry point for the EV market is slowly getting cheaper, EVs in the $30,000 range likely won’t be inexpensive enough to get everyday people out of their older vehicles. However, France may have a solution. BNN Bloomberg reports that the French government is readying a plan to make it really cheap to lease an EV rather than own one.

The plan will make full-electric vehicles available for 100 euros ($100) a month, Budget Minister Gabriel Attal said Sunday on LCI television, noting that the cost is less than what many people spend on gasoline. The government is working on how quickly the measure can be rolled out and the availability of EVs, he said.

Macron promised a state-sponsored leasing program for low-income households to counter criticism that even with subsidies, EVs are still out of reach for many.

Among low-cost EVs, the Dacia Spring is available for 120 euros a month in France with a long-term lease; the soon-to-be discontinued Nissan Leaf is available for 139 euros a month, as is the Fiat New 500; and the Renault Twingo for 150 euros a month.

While customers who choose to lease won’t hold any equity in a new car, the simple truth is that a car is a utility for most people, just like electricity and water. Between depreciation, insurance, fuel, registration, and maintenance, there’s a certain monthly cost for private transportation. If you happen to have a paid-off car near the bottom of its depreciation curve, that monthly cost should be fairly low, to the point where a fancy new vehicle is financially unattractive. After all, unless you really love it, why hold equity in a depreciating piece of property? Once you factor in the cost of fuel versus electricity, a 100 euro monthly lease on an entry-level EV becomes quite attractive.

New Renault Twingo Ze
Photo credit: Renault

Granted, short-range EVs aren’t for everyone. To get a sense of France’s scale, it’s about 457 miles (737 km) by car from Paris up north to Montpellier in the south. While a range of between 100 and 150 miles on the rather optimistic WLTP cycle sounds brilliant for jaunts from suburb to suburb, short-range EVs aren’t exactly as hassle-free as combustion-powered cars for intercity travel.

However, for suburbanites, urban dwellers, and people simply interested in having a cheap local commuter, spending 100 euros a month on an EV lease sounds like dirt cheap motoring. Plus, there’s another big benefit to this novel lease subsidization program. If it’s successful, it should flood the used car market with cheap EVs in just a few years, providing benefits to both lessees and used car buyers.

03 New 500 France EV lease
Photo credit: Fiat

So, could a lease subsidization program work in America? Maybe not on short-range EVs as there aren’t many on the market, but I could definitely see a similar program enjoying some popularity. Being able to turn in an EV every few years should alleviate concerns of those who are skeptical regarding long-term EV reliability, [Editor’s Note: Especially long-term battery life – JT] and low car payments would let people currently unable to afford EVs the option of plug-in motoring. In addition, subsidized leases should help ensure a fairly steady stream of used EVs entering the marketplace, critical for down-the-road affordability.

In any case, I have some pretty solid hopes for France’s ambitions. Should this plan make it into law, it could do a better job of bringing EVs to the masses than simple tax credits on new EV purchases. I know that I’d really love a cheap EV lease as a winter car and general urban runabout, so let’s hope that governments of the world have their eyes on France.

Lead photo credit: Dacia

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31 Responses

  1. As another has said, France has really good public transportation options. 100 km one-way range would be sufficient to get to the nearest SNCF (train) station if it were needed to get to work. That being said, driving even 100km in a day, unless for a long trip, is considered a long trip where I lived.

    1. Most of the Renault Zoé can’t reach the 130kph either ( you need the special power pack [ whatever it’s called ] or a very recent [ 2020+ ] model to reach it, otherwise off to the truck lane at 110kph with your shiny EV ).

      The C Zéro can’t reach 130Kph either.

      No surprise there. But you don’t need to reach 130Kph when the Paris Périphérique is limited to 70kph at best ( with enough speed camera to catch you if you stray away from it ), and outside of Paris most of the time you won’t have a motorway included in your commuting… at best an expressway ( voie express/route pour automobiles ) with a 110kph limit or an urban motorway limited to 90kph.
      And since these cars don’t have the range to do interurban travels reaching 130kph is basically pointless.

      1. If you can make do with 44HP and 100-150 miles range that’s fantastic! I’m sure that is plenty for what most folks actually do 90% of the time.

        On my visit to France as a tourist however I used the Autoroute so 130 KPH was necessary for me. My rental Peugeot 2008 longroof served that purpose just fine, even loaded with family and luggage. As a bonus it was an American hipster’s dream: a manual transmission, a tiny << 100 HP diesel engine and brown! Score!

        My only real quibble with it was the rear windows were also manual while the fronts were power.

        1. it’s going to be a second car for daily commute ( or the single car for families that use train when they go beyond where they live ).

          so 130kph is pointless when all the French major cities are bringing speed down to 30kph ( from 50 ) and are trying to change urban motorways ( usually 110 or 90 kph ) to urban boulevards ( 50kph )

          A Tourist doing a road trip across France is not the targeted public for this 100€ EV, the targeted public is the daily commuter that has to do less than 100Kms to go to work and and come back home, dropping the kids to school and going to the super market along the way in an urban or sub urban environment.

    1. there’s a caveat in France :
      If your home is not equipped for EV charging you can ask and get it installed for free.
      ( it’s a bit more tricky for parking places in flat/condo/apartment buildings, as it needs approval, but the installation is still free [ government subsidized ])
      There’s only two plug type : the 16amps snail charging plug, and the Fast Charge Plug. And as far as I know all the cars come equipped with both cables.

      Many large companies and most car parks already have EV reserved places, and 16amps outlets available ( when the EV places with fast Charging points are full ).

      So basically without any effort you can charge either at home or at work… when not at both.

        1. To get cleaner electricity you need to go to Iceland. ( 100% renewable there, mainly geothermal and hydro )

          Side note : due to Ukraine we still have two coal power plants on working order ( in case the nuclear plants can’t provide ). One was due to be decomisionned this summer and the other one was actually decomisionned and they are scrambling to get all the people back to have it in working order. Again, both are more an insurance than anything else, they are just there ‘in case’.

    1. Expect 150 to 200kms in the worst conditions.

      The Zoé and the Leaf are doing better than that ( they are almost at 300Kms ).

      But it’s also going to depend on how you drive them… on a Massy – Nanterre ( and back ) trip with a Zoé I used up 10% of charge ( which is much less than expected by the distance only ) only because there’s ups and down… and when going down I was regenerating ( read : refilling the battery ) so in the end that 40ish+ Km round trip equalled to a 15ish km round trip.

  2. 100-150 miles of range is a week’s commuting for me. $100 a month for something that never needs gas and I can turn in for a new one in a few years? Sign me up. I’ll keep my fun cars for the weekend, but I’d happily do the daily grind in a little EV.

  3. Of course, we could never have this in the US because it’s “socialism”, but not the kind we like (fire department, judiciary, Department of Defense, etc). We also don’t have a world-class passenger rail system like France does.
    Even $200 per month for something with a more American-sized range would be great for me. I love the idea, but I’m afraid we’re too pedantic to have the guts to do it.

    1. lol, and in France we are all thinking Macron is center right, leaning on the right…

      the definition of socialism ( and I won’t even go into communism ) is really borked on your side of the Pond compared to what we consider as such in Western Europe. ( and trust me European Socialism it’s about as far to Soviet Socialism as what you consider Left and Right politically… but we are on a car blog, bot a political one. )

    1. for 100€/month I would actually consider ‘owning’ ( understand long term leasing ) a car again.
      ( while liking cars I haven’t owned one for the last 28 years… because it’s such a pita to own one in Paris area )

  4. lets make it clear : for most French people that 100€/month EV would be the second car…
    The one used to bring kids to school and then go to the office ( where it will get refilled ), then back home where it will get refilled ), with a jaunt to the supermarket, the DIY store or the gardening one once in a while…
    Eventually it may be used for a day trip 30/40ish km away by one of the adult, and by the kids ( once they are old enough and got their driving license ) to go to the night club once in a while.

    It’s definitely not meant for a Parisian to go in vacation in Montpellier in vacation ( there’s the main car for that with enough room for the luggage and comfort for everybody to survive the hours long traffic jam on the A7 on an August saturday afternoon )

    It’s meant to be used as a daily car to commute and do what David does with his ChangLi ( when it’s not broken ) thoug with more style ( we have local version of the ChangLi, though for the time being they are still all ICE, and you can drive them at 14 years old, google Aixam and Ligier… and yes it’s THAT Ligier of old F1 fame )

    1. To add more, at a guess, the cars at 100/month will be the Citroën C0 ( C Zéro, they will have to restart production as I’m not sure it’s still produced ) and whatever Dacia/Renault ( and any other car manufacturer ) manage to get to that price.
      I guess all the cars will be somewhat specific to France as they will have to cut lots of corners to reach that level… even if the base platform is global.

      The Ami is disqualified, it’s not a real car, it’s the French Version/vision of a ChangLi and can be driven by a 14 yo kid.

  5. Any Californians here recall the Fiat 500e lease frenzy a few years ago? Billboards were advertising them as “a car that costs less than your cell phone bill.”

    We got one for (roughly) $0 down and $65/month for 3 years. 85 mile range and lots of fun. I love the idea of a cheap EV like that. Would do it again and again but maybe it means I must now move to France and the car will not be a Fiat.

  6. Even with a 100 mile range, that is better than the 2013 Nissan Leaf that we currently have, and which is totally fine for the around-town duties we use it for. At $100 / month I would get a Dacia or Renault immediately, and would be a great addition or replacement.

    Also, the impact on the used market would be significant, and it will be an absolute game-changer once there are heavily-depreciated used EVs on the market, even if their range is only ~100 miles. I do hope that with the extension of the EV tax credits, coupled with state incentives, there is an emergence of markets for super cheap lower range EVs. If charging infrastructure becomes robust (which it is definitely NOT yet) , then the limited range won’t be as much of an issue.

  7. I think of myself as a “never-lease” kind of guy, but this is something I would jump on. When I bought my Volt (used) – the loan I took out was $200/month for 4 years. My monthly expenditure on gasoline before that was anywhere from $250 to $350 and it suddenly dropped to around $50 (and this was in 2016). My commute was now costing around $.70 cents/day in electricity vs. $5.00/day in gasoline, all while getting to drive a much nicer, newer vehicle. It felt like I stumbled onto a cheat code for life.

  8. While these are great affordable options, they are just barely larger than a Kei-car.
    The Dacia Spring is about the size of a Suzuki Alto or Celerio.
    Most likely to be used as a second car.
    Good city runabouts, but then in France there are many other options for city travel: good public transportation, bicycle, 50-125 CC scooters, or just taking the sidewalks.

  9. “noting that the cost is less than what many people spend on gasoline.”

    The magic of EVs is that this cost just goes away and isn’t replaced by anything else from a financial or environmental standpoint.

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