Observe, enlighten and decipher the evolution
of consumption patterns in France and abroad

Motorists would like support to switch to electric vehicles

4 minutes of reading


The desire is there, but there are also obstacles. All that is missing is the nudge that could make all the difference. Almost 3 in 4 of those surveyed would like this nudge to take the form of government subsidies to help them switch from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles.

The countries most enthusiastic about electric vehicles are those that are the keenest to receive such support, with Turkey leading the way thanks to an almost unanimous response from its citizens. Even in the United States, a land known for its spirit of free enterprise, such subsidies would be welcomed. Might the Biden plan* have something to do with it? In Austria, and to a lesser extent in Norway and Belgium, demand for measures of this kind is less acute (Fig. 30).

Fig. 30


As we saw previously on the question of cars in general, there is also quite a clear lack of
awareness when it comes to the existence of local subsidies. Just over half of the motorists surveyed have no idea whether any are available in their country. Individuals in the leading European Union countries, with the exception of Belgium, tend to be well informed, unlike in Mexico, Norway and the United Kingdom, where subsidies have been available since 2011 (Fig. 31).

Just over half of the motorists surveyed have no idea whether government subsidies are available in their country.

Fig. 31


The necessity of these subsidies is unquestionable. 8 out of 10 people consider them essential. The Chinese, Turks, French, Spanish and Americans are their most vocal supporters. But the fog returns to render the detail behind these measures opaque, once again leaving motorists with doubts and questions.

More than 7 out of 10 respondents find them too confusing. The French and Poles are the most likely to bemoan this complexity, which is often of an administrative nature. They are seen in equal measure as confusing and marred by inadequate communication that hinders awareness. This time, a majority of Turks and Mexicans voice their dissatisfaction on these points.

The fact that this support is only accessible to a limited number of motorists generates a similarly high level of disapproval, the sense being that only the rich benefit, since they alone can afford to buy electric vehicles, which are more expensive than average. This result echoes the feeling of injustice prompted by LEZs, which are seen as penalising low-income households first and foremost. This is a stance that is particularly prevalent in Mexico, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. Setting aside the factors that cause the fog to thicken, the issue of price is the dominant one in most people’s minds.

Lastly, 55% deem the subsidies to be high enough in value. 45% go so far as to say that they are too high (Fig. 32).

Fig. 32


FRANCE : Under the Bonus/Penalty system, vehicles that emit less than 20g/km of CO2 benefit from a one-off bonus of €7,000.
For vehicles between 21 and 50 g/km, the bonus is €5,000.

UNITED KINGDOM : Since 2011, motorists who buy a new electric car (BEV or PHEV emitting less than 75g CO2/km, or a fuel cell vehicle) receive a one-off bonus worth 25% of the price of their car, up to a maximum of £5,000 (around €5,800).

SWEDEN : Since 2012, cars that emit 50g/km of CO2 or less receive a one-off bonus of SEK 40,000 (around €4,500). The programme will run until 2014 and will be available to a maximum of 5,000 cars.

U.S.A : The average incentive offered to buyers of PHEVs and BEVs in the United States is less
than $1,000 per vehicle. States such as Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana and California offer between $2,000 and $6,000 per vehicle.


These subsidies will be just as useful in the future as they are today Just 1 in 5 of those who believe they will remain in force think that they will be reduced. Twice as many are hopeful that they will increase. This hope is expressed by 1 in 2 respondents in China, the United States and Turkey. 45% believe that their value will remain the same, with France, Spain and Mexico being the only countries where this is the majority view (Fig. 33 et 34).

Fig. 34

Sub-section 11
Electric cars are taking centre stage… but raise new questions
L’Observatoire Cetelem has long paid close attention to electric vehicles, and was among the first to announce their advent. However, this edition should be seen as something of a milestone, si
Sub-section 13
China versus the rest of the world
A number of brands are intent on shaking up the market and winning over motorists with low-cost electric vehicles. With the switch to an electric world now in full swing, motorists will no lon