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Grants for Electric Cycles in France

Friday 08 October 2021

There are both local council and central government grants available for the purchase of an electric cycle.

Whether for work or leisure, there has been a boom in cycling in France since the epidemic, and with it a large increase in the sale of electrically assisted bikes.

Last month, the French newspaper Les Echoes reported there had been a 29% increase in sales of electric cycles in 2020, in a market now worth €3million a year.

The price of the cycles varies from around €700 to €3,000 at the top-end. In a recent review of the cycles on the market by the consumer magazine Que Choisir the Starway brand of cycles came top, at around €1,800 each.

In the combat against urban congestion and pollution and to encourage healthier lifestyles, local councils and the French government have put in place a grant regime for the purchase of an electric cycle.

A complex set of rules and procedures apply, but if you are prepared to make the effort you could be rewarded with a contribution of several hundred euros towards your new bike.

Council Grants

A large number of local and regional councils have introduced a fixed grant for the purchase of an electric cycle.

The level of the grant and the conditions that apply differ by local council.

In the Ile-de-France, the grant is up to €600, but in most other areas of the country it is a maximum of €200. Grants in metropolitan areas are generally larger than in rural areas.

Many of these grants are not means-tested, but where this is the case the test is a reasonably generous one. Thus, in the region of Occitanie, your income cannot be greater than €25,660 per year, per person.

You can find a list of the councils offering these grants together with a summary of the rules that apply at Subvention Velo Electrique. However, you should also make enquiries to your local mairie or the website of your region.

Government Grants

There are two grants offered by the French government that come under the umbrella heading Acquisition d'un vélo à assistance électrique (VAE).

The two schemes are the bonus écologique and the prime à la conversion.

i. Bonus Ecologique

This is a grant that is means tested and only those with a net taxable income (revenu fiscal de référence) no greater than €13,489 are eligible.

You also need to have been in receipt of an electric cycle grant from one of your local councils, either the mairie or region. The two grants are cumulative up to a maximum of €200, but the grant cannot be higher than the council grant.

Accordingly, if you were given a grant of €200 from your council, you could also obtain a €200 government grant. However, if the local grant was only €50, the government grant would be capped at that level.

The application can be made at Demande de bonus pour un vélo à assistance électrique.

ii. Prime à la conversion

If you are proposing to scrap an old and polluting car, you could be eligible for a grant towards an electric cycle.

The conditions of eligibility are the same as those for grants for scraping a car for a new vehicle. That is to say, the vehicle being scrapped must have been first registered before 2011 if a diesel vehicle or or before 2006 for a petrol vehicle.

The level of the grant is a grant of €1,500 up to a maximum of 40% of the cost price, whichever is the lower, but the grant is also cumulative with the bonus écologique.

Indeed, if you live in a low emissions area (Zone à Faible Emission mobilité - ZFE) and you have been able to obtain a grant from the council then you are entitled to a grant up to the maximum of the local authority grant, capped at €1,000.

The scheme is not means-tested and it does not require that you cease use of a vehicle. Similar rules apply for goods carrying cycles.

Applications can be made at Prime a la Conversion.

Insurance

You do not need to take out separate accident insurance for an electric cycle, provided it has a motor with a maximum power of 250w, and the assistance is not activated above 25km/h, which is the case for most cycles. 

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