Automotive sector deal: France confirms its shift towards zero-emission vehicles

zero-emission vehicles France
France confirms its shift towards zero-emission vehicles

Despite the slowdown in sales and doubts over whether the internal combustion engine will be phased out by 2035, the government and the French automotive industry are keen to speed up the electrification of the vehicle fleet. This is the main message of the new sector agreement for the period 2024-2027, due to be signed on Monday 6 April at Bercy.

The targets for the period 2018-2022 have been achieved, with sales of electric vehicles 5 times higher (200,000 compared with 39,000) and a fleet of over one million vehicles. France now counts over 100,000 public charging points. For the period 2024-2027, France aims to multiply this figure by 4 to reach 800,000 zero-emission vehicles and by 6 to reach 100,000 commercial vehicles. One of the priorities is also to decarbonise buses, coaches and trucks. As for the number of charging points, it has been earmarked at 430,000 by 2030.

Hydrogen holds a place in the energy mix

Hydrogen has not been forgotten. The deal refers to this, stating that “we will continue to work on hydrogen, which could provide a solution for certain uses that have yet to be defined, reducing our dependence on critical materials, provided that costs come down and that carbon-free hydrogen can be produced in sufficient quantities.”

This issue is also addressed in the agreement’s circular approach. The aim is to optimise the environmental impact of the industry based on a multi-criteria lifecycle analysis covering the electric motor, power electronics, batteries, hydrogen mobility (fuel cells and tanks), innovative bio-based and recycled materials, weight reduction and eco-design, and bidirectional recharging via Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) connectivity.

There is also the question of securing the supply of critical materials for fuel cells and, of course, station deployment under the AFIR directive. The PFA and SystemX have carried out a study to plan the deployment of hydrogen stations in France.

Openness to e-fuels?

Overall, the aim is to offer more affordable vehicles, preferably made in France. The agreement also seeks to develop circular economy initiatives, such as retrofitting. In this respect, it reports that type approvals already exist or are in progress for all segments – passenger cars, light commercial vehicles, commercial vehicles, buses and coaches – with the emphasis on fully electric vehicles and hydrogen-powered vehicles. The agreement also encourages the use of biofuels and other alternative fuels (i.e. potentially e-fuels) as part of the European RED III directive ( Renewable Energy Directive) for the existing fleet.

Do you want to learn more about hydrogen in France and around the world? Then our latest articles on the country should interest you. You can access all of our France-related articles here.

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Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Mariem Ben Tili

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About the author

Laurent Meillaud

Laurent Meillaud

Freelance automotive journalist and consultant, author as well, focused on technologies and new trends for more than 30 years, convinced that hydrogen is one of the energies for the future.

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