French motorists seem concerned by the electric vehicle, since the registrations of these cars increased by more than 20% in 2014. But at this stage, there is no question of talking about a revolution, since the market share remains confidential despite the debauchery of commercial offers and government assistance.
In total, 10,560 electric vehicles were purchased in France during the year, compared to 8,779 in 2013. However, the electric car only represents 0.59% of the fleet of new cars registered in 2014.
"It is true that volumes are still quite marginal compared to the overall market, but for such a young market, this is very positive" shares Marie Castelli, secretary general of the National Association for the Development of Electric Mobility.
And the figures are all the more encouraging since according to her, the buyers would have been put off at the start of the year by the modification of the bases for calculating the bonus on long-term rentals which led to the loss of an advantage of 2000 euros, so even that this type of registration represents 60% of electric vehicles.
Later, the government released its favorite argument: a bonus of 10,000 euros helping the purchase of an electric car against the scrapping of an old diesel vehicle (with however heavy eligibility restrictions). But efforts have also been made on the charging stations side, there are nearly 10,000 in France today.
In France, Renault occupies the largest share of the electric vehicle market with its Zoé, sold at 5,970 copies this year, including 1,182 in December alone. Nissan for its part would have sold 1604 Leaf, with the aim of reaching 2,500 units by March 2015.
The queen of electric cars, the Tesla Model S, found 328 takers in France despite a high starting price of 60,000 euros, it is however the one that currently offers the most autonomy with more than 500 km per charge.
And this is undoubtedly what is still holding back users, the somewhat fair autonomy and recharging times which cannot compete with a switch to the petrol pump. In addition, the electric car also causes some disillusionment, in particular concerning the imposed battery rental services, or the idea of having to change a battery after 2 years with a very high price not always justifying the fuel savings achieved nor the initial investment compared to a petrol vehicle.
This is why Toyota is now betting on the hydrogen vehicle, which offers the advantage of combining long range with a hydrogen recharging system comparable to going to the petrol station. The Mirai will thus be offered in Europe from the second half of the year.