France Will Give Bigger Electric Car Rebates To People Who Make Less Money

Morning Dump France Ev Income

France plans to tie EV rebates to household income, Electric Mini production will leave England, Renault plans 400 kW charging stations. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.

France To Tie EV Rebates To Income

Peugeot 208 2022 089 Fr 632dae101a1c2 france
Photo credit: Peugeot

One of the big problems with EVs is that they are mostly quite expensive for anyone who doesn’t have what used to be luxury car money. Reuters reports that France aims to change that by taking a slice out of EV incentives for higher-income buyers and beefing up EV incentives for shoppers with lower incomes.

In an interview with business daily Les Echos before visiting the show, Macron said EV subsidies for lower-income households would rise to 7,000 euros ($6,826) next year from 6,000 euros, while falling to 5,000 euros for other French buyers.

While France has another fabulous plan to offer dirt-cheap 100 euro-per-month EV leases, some buyers just want the equity and security of actually owning their car. Tying some incentives to income is a great way of helping shoppers realize that dream of equity. However, there’s a chance that not all EVs will be treated equally.

Asked about boosting subsidies for European-made EVs, as the United States has done with its recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act, Macron told Les Echoes he had favoured this approach for years.

“I strongly defend a European preference,” he said.

Ah, more protectionist trade talk. Right.

Mini Moving EV Production Out Of The UK

P90474842 Highres Mini Cooper Se 09 20
Photo credit: Mini

First reported by The Times, future electric Mini hatch models will be made in China rather than England. However, The Guardian reports that this is part of a broader production shuffle.

The announcement follows confirmation by Mini boss, Stefanie Wurst, last week that a convertible model will join the all-new Mini Cooper range – due to launch in 2024 – and that it will be “coming home” in 2025 with production in the UK at the Mini Oxford factory.

The Mini convertible is currently built exclusively in Born, Netherlands, so bringing production back to the UK makes sense from a tooling perspective. In addition, an electric version of the Countryman crossover will be built in Germany, so the future of Mini production in The Netherlands is uncertain. Will EVs ever come back to Mini’s Oxford plant? Possibly, although Wurst said to not expect any timeline yet.

“Oxford is not geared up for electric vehicles,” she said. “It will need renovation and investment.” Asked when electric Minis will return to Oxford, she said: “There is no date.”

Given the traditional seven-year model cycle, it wouldn’t be surprising to not see any new electric Mini models made in Oxford until 2030 or so. On a positive note, Americans are now able to buy new three-door Minis with manual gearboxes again, something that’s a little more my speed.

Renault Announces 400 kW Charging Stations

Renault Mobilize Charging
Photo credit: Renault

It was only a matter of time before car manufacturers other than Tesla hopped into the DC fast charging game. Automotive News Europe reports that Renault’s Mobilize division is launching a new network of charging stations that is expected to pack some serious power.

Mobilize stations will be able to supply up to 400 kilowatts of power. The brand says that a stationary storage system will be able to deliver 600 kW of simultaneous power, even when several cars are charging at the same time, to limit the impact on the power grid.

It also allows drivers to receive the best price for electrical power, Mobilize says. The storage system includes “second life” EV batteries and photovoltaic cells.

Considering only a handful of current EVs are compatible with 350 kW DC fast charging, 400 kW may seem like overkill. It’s certainly futureproofing, but how long will it be until we see EVs that can take advantage of 400 kW charging? More useful are these proposed stationary storage systems as they can pull energy from the grid during off-peak hours and potentially pass cost savings on to drivers. In any case, expect these chargers to pop up just off of major highways in France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain, with more countries planned in the future.

Hyundai To Break Ground On American EV Factory

The Hyundai Ioniq 5 would be ineligible for EV credits under the Senate proposal
Photo credit: Hyundai

Given how tensions have built between South Korea and America over EV tax credits, it’s not surprising to hear that Hyundai is moving quickly on U.S. EV assembly plans. Reuters reports that the South Korean automaker will break ground on a massive new plant in Georgia later this month.

Hyundai plans to begin commercial production in the first half of 2025 with an annual capacity of 300,000 units. The Oct. 25 groundbreaking for the Hyundai Group “metaplant” in Savannah, Georgia is part of the Hyundai Group’s “commitment of $10 billion by 2025 to foster future mobility in the U.S., including production of EVs,” the company said.

While the name “metaplant” sounds abominably stupid, a plant in Georgia should help Hyundai qualify for EV rebates under the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s a good play considering talks regarding EV rebates between South Korean and U.S. officials are still ongoing. A concrete commitment to U.S. manufacturing may sway American lawmakers into an interim solution. In any case, Hyundai expects to spend $5.5 billion on this new factory, so the brand best get cracking if it’s targeting 2025 production.

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Monday, so I hope that everyone had a really lovely weekend. To kick off the resumption of the work week, let’s play a bit of a game. Imagine that the 25-year import law on cars gets magically struck down this afternoon. What are you bringing to America?

Lead photo credit: Mini

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18 Responses

  1. “Imagine that the 25-year import law on cars gets magically struck down…”

    Tata Nano, preferably an early-production stripped-down example that actually fulfilled the “one lakh rupees” promise.

    I would have quoted the entire question above, but that’s as far as I needed to get before knowing my answer.

  2. 1). This is brilliant and it’s what everyone should be doing. In MURICA the rebate is basically just another bone thrown to the rich, who have an endless sea of tax hacks at their disposal already…and it’s not really helping to make EVs more affordable, since manufacturers just tack $7500 on to the cost of their EVs to counter it.

    If you can afford a $60,000+ car you don’t need a tax break to do it. But if you can only afford a lower spec one it could be a godsend. If governments want wider spread adaption this is a great way to do it. We’re still waiting on a good $30,000ish EV.

    2). Doesn’t really matter much to me to be honest.

    3). Does this mean Nissan can have access as well? If so that could be a huge boon to them and their EVs. Either way, the more charging infrastructure the better.

    4). Cool…but they should focus more of their time and money on the details than continuing to expand. Hyundai and Kia are having absolutely massive quality control issues right now. It seems like it’s recall after recall and bad headlines as far as the eye can see.

    Fortunately for me my Kona N isn’t in the batch that are being recalled, but it feels like their cars are time bombs right now. They need to stop making so many unforced errors or the goodwill they’ve built up with consumers and the automotive press will be squandered.

    They’re quickly becoming too big for their own good and their ownership experience needs to improve dramatically. Don’t get me wrong, I’m rooting for them because I own one and think they’re making some very cool cars these days. But they have got to tighten up already…I hate having to look my VIN up in their recall database once a week…although I made my own bed and now I have to sleep in it.

    Le Flush: easy, either an RS3 hatchback or an RS4 Avant. It’s an absolute crime that the only sporty non SUV Audis we get are sedans or coupes. A lot of us need and use the extra space and cargo versatility that hatchbacks and wagons offer. I’ve thought about getting an RS3 but we just aren’t going to be able to make a small sedan work for our needs.

    And it sucks. Unless something changes my next car is probably going to be an X3 M40i or SQ5 because of the space we need…but I’d prefer a hatch or wagon. I guess the S5 and 4 series exist but I’m not huge on the styling of either.

    1. The tax credit being a handout is true, but you’ve got it backwards.

      It’s a handout to the company selling the car, not to the buyer.

      As long as all the EVs are selling, it’s stupid and counter-productive to have a tax credit on them at all. It just keeps prices higher with absolutely zero impact on the number of EVs being driven. You say “that’s one more EV on the road”. But it isn’t. They were going to make that many, and they were going to sell that many. The market is supply constrained.

      EV tax credits are stupid. I say as somebody who purchased a qualifying vehicle today, and will be getting a $7500 credit on my taxes come April 15th.

      (EVs also have no impact on the amount of fossil fuels being burned. But that’s a different conversation.)

    2. Your feelings on #1 seem to be quite common among the general populace, but, it’s always baffled me. I can see how a $7500 credit can seem like a ‘handout to the rich’, especially when the only new electric cars are expensive, and really only the relatively well off buy new cars in the first place.

      But, here’s the thing. Tax credits/deductions aren’t (or, at least tend to not be when they’re on a scale as large as this) some sort of reward for being rich, but instead a means of behavior manipulation. If there’s one thing rich people with accountants absolutely love, it’s a tax credit, and they’ll often make otherwise bad decisions to get them. Look at all the people driving huge trucks & SUVs because they can get a write-off for their company. Conversely, even if a Model S doesn’t really make sense for someone or really even appeal to them, they’re interested in it over an S550 or a Panamera S simply because of the tax credit. So, that’s one more electric vehicle on the road, making cleaner air/reducing oil dependence/etc for everyone, not just the ‘rich person’ who was swayed by the tax credit – so, regardless of who uses it, the intended environmental benefit still extends to everyone.

      There’s downstream benefits as well. What do ‘the rest of us’ tend to drive? Used cars. Well, if there are no electric new cars, there are no electric used cars. So, that small business owner who bought a Volt instead of a Civic or Camry because of the $7500 off uses it for a few years, and then there’s a used Volt on the market for 2nd, 3rd, 4th hand owners to drive and both benefit from cheaper operating costs, and continue the environmental benefits for years and years to come (especially in the case of the Volt – they seem to go forever), all off of that one $7,500 investment. It’s just like how we all want M3 wagons and RS4 avants – if there’s no new buyers, there can’t be any used buyers and, left to their own devices, if sales are too low, manufacturers quit making them. Unfortunately, wagons don’t have an outsized benefit to society at large, so we can’t make a great case about a tax credit for them, but, electric cars do (well, for the most part), and, since it’s to all of our benefit, whoever wants to be swayed by it, rich or really rich, is fine with me. Perhaps there’s a huge flaw in my thinking, but, to me, the recently imposed caps are reductive to the goal, not helpful. I wish there was a way to weed out the vanity trucks, but, even then, that’s likely one less coal-rolling bro-dozer on the road, so it’s probably an even bigger benefit.

      1. I don’t know man. That seems like the kind of logical argument made to justify the trickle down economics bullshit we have heard for years. It sounds good on paper but doesn’t work in practice. I think the fact you are saying that the tax credit is what incentivizes rich people to buy a specific car is laughable.

  3. Is that a Peugeot 508 wagon? That’s sexy AF. Can we get that over here? But what the hell would we market that as? Dodge? Or make it top tier and into a Chrysler? It would be perfect as a reintroduction of Plymouth for sensibly priced card (like Skoda).

  4. What car would I bring over? Well, pretending for a few I had the money to do it, Renault Clio V6 Phase 2. I also love the Alpine A110, but the heart wants what the heart wants and right now it wants that Clio.

  5. Nissan needs to install some of those charging stations here, since the Nissan Leaf is part of the Renault alliance 😛

    The Leaf was the #1 selling electric car until a couple years ago when the Tesla Model 3 finally overtook it

  6. Agreed, we should follow the French model for EV subsidies. Maybe geographically weight them, though. $70k in LA is poverty wages while that same $70k in a flyover state is a solid income. Otherwise the subsidies will return to paying for a well-off person’s EV. Instead of getting the relief to the people who most need it.

  7. I’m willing to bet the GR Yaris tops the list of replies to Thomas’s question. As of now, I’m inclined to agree.

    Most of my wishlist is made up of cars that are currently importable under the 25-year rule. I’ve checked around a bit and, like no-exemption U.S.-legal used cars, any that aren’t at or near the Roch Motel stage are almost always way, WAY out of my price range.

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