Proud to be an American? Perhaps not so much if you're an electric vehicle advocate comparing our new EV sales to those of France (and try to forget Norway).

Automakers sold 5,663 pure electric vehicles to private users in France 2012, doubling the annual EV sales throughout the country compared to 2011, Green Car Congress reports, citing French electric and hybrid vehicle association AVERE-France. PSA Peugeot Citroen was the largest French EV maker with 2,744 Ion/C-Zero models sold, while the Bollore Blue Car and Nissan Leaf moved 1,800 and 524 units, respectively.

While fewer than 6,000 new EVs don't sound like much, the demand is impressive when considering the sample size and the fact that France alone accounts for about a third of Europe's EV market. Americans purchased about 12,000 EVs last year, including 9,819 Leafs and factoring in the lower-volume Tesla Model S. With about 240 million vehicles on American roads, new EVs accounted for about one in 20,000 registered US vehicles. Factoring France's approximately 35 million registered vehicles, new EVs accounted for about one in 6,200 roadworthy cars, meaning that France had three times as many new EVs to registered vehicles as the US.

As recently as September, French Minister of Industrial Renewal Amaud Montebourg said he wanted France to be the leading nation when it came to EV adoption. Incentives such as free EV parking, toll-road fee exemptions and financial aid to those who install EV charging stations are also in the works.

Mon dieu!


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 21 Comments
      ericmarseille
      • 1 Day Ago
      You're right (I mean Dave Mart and Marcopolo). Now something tells me that the KANGOO ZE, the small van from Renault, is going to be a real success over time. And when the Zoe comes in (delayed once more, now to the end of spring 2013), it will be something else. That said it will be a slow progress at first : the biggest problem in the mass adoption of electric vehicules in France is the home charger : many French people don't own their homes (57%), and it's an ordeal to get the authorization from the landowner to have a charger installed home, not mentioning the large number of people who don't have a private car parking space ; just look at any street of any french town at night, lined up with parked cars, and in the suburbs, there are car parks everywhere, but no nominal parking spaces, any attempt to do so would result in severe loss of health for the poor guy trying to make an Arab understand the notion and not take his parking space ; plus, the immigrant population, in its rage to destroy its own habitat, would be all too happy to vandalize the infrastructure ; too bad, for this is the population which craves for the advantages of a car like the ZOE : - Overall expenses just under the equivalent thermal car - Much more linear expenses curve (whether you do 500 km or 2000km on a given month weighs much less on the budget, for instance), very important for lower middle class people - The hip factor and the little perks (free parking and charge in centertown) - The green factor (very very important in France, this could help someone socially) - The middle finger to the Emirs and the muslims in general (we've been waiting for that since '73, I can tell you it would be 50% of my determination to buy one if I were in a financial situation to do so) - Much, much more mobility for the same price ; in France highways are tolled, so it is expensive to make big trips anyway, but highways aren't tolled in big agglomerations, well, moslty, like Marseille, Lyon, Paris, Lille. Suburbanites from the low middle class could see their mobility soar with electric cars and evade much more often to centertowns (esp with free parking and/or charge) and to the outskirts of their region Until this problem is solved EVs will stay a niche product for medium high class people who own their house and want a second car, and those people are extremely hard to move...but when moved they convert en masse. Time will tell but one thing is sure ; French people have far less prejudice against electric mobility than other people from the developed world, they're much more pragmatic.
        Spec
        • 1 Day Ago
        @ericmarseille
        Thanks for the insight! I've long wondered why EVs have struggled in Europe considering the high gas prices but you have provided some good answers. Well, France should create some new rules that start mandating chargers for apartments & flats. France is not shy on heavy regulation and if they do that, then that should help with the infrastructure problem.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @ericmarseille
        @ ericmarseille, Thank you your interesting and pretty accurate insight into the French EV Market. I am currently in France and was please to see that EV manufacture is so well established in France. It's good to see that small EV truck and van specialist manufacturer, Goupil, has settled down after becoming part of the US Polaris Group. The combination should serve both companies well. France was one of the greatest of the early automotive manufacturers. French vehicles (yellow headlights and all) were always advanced in both engineering and design. Sometimes just a little too avant-garde maybe, but always interesting. The French contribution to EV progress, has been significant from the mid nineteenth century. . Names like Gaston Plante, Gustave Trouvé ,Camille Faure,Charles Jeantaud,Louis Antoine Krieger ,and Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat (the Electric Count) with his wonderful 'Jeantaud electric car which boated not only the world land speed record, but the very first steering wheel. I'm on the trail of a very early 1907 French EV, (suitable for restoration), which I hope to persuade the current owner to sell to me to add to my growing EV collection. Vive, l'auto électrique !
        kEiThZ
        • 1 Day Ago
        @ericmarseille
        Some of what you say makes sense. The rest is racist tosh.
          ericmarseille
          • 1 Day Ago
          @kEiThZ
          You probably mean the two comments on "Immigrants in suburbs" and "the middle finger to Emirs". Please let me justify : '73 is still a very vivid memory at least for people of my generation and beyond in a country which never had oil and was still licking its wounds from the Algerian war the time. Now, considering the "racist tosh", let me tell you that I've lived 35 of my 39 first years (I'm 50 now) in the worst banlieues of Paris ; I've talked with, lived with, worked with and shared France's Arabs and black people's life much, much more than what I should have. Just to stay in my original post tone, one anecdote in a million I could tell : One guy I worked with had moved to another flat in our town ; when parking his car for the first time, in the parking lot nested right in the middle of the buildings, no nominal parking spaces of course, he just did it at random like everybody does, some Arab yelled at him from a window : " - Hey you, this is MY parking space! move the **** out of here! - Waddya mean your parking space?? Everybody parks where he finds a space, they're not private! - Ok, I'm coming down! " ....And the guy came down like a madman and beat him up. Dear KEiThZ, never, never, ever come to the banlieue...You're in for a big, big disappointment.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Day Ago
          @kEiThZ
          @ kEiThZ Anti-migration feelings run much higher in France than they do in the UK or the new world. The French had a different attitude to it's colonies, and were deeply hurt by the violence and hatred displayed during de Gaulle's dismantling of the French empire. Since then France has been overwhelmed by migrants. Nearly one person in five in the French population is of migrant extraction. France has over 5 million Muslims. The immigrant experience does not sit well with the families of those French families who were forced to flee former colonies, despite having been born in the colony and lived there for generations. While in theory, nothing justifies racism, that's small comfort when you walk down a street your family has lived in for generations, only to find you are an unwelcome stranger in your own country.
      Guillaume Séguin
      • 1 Day Ago
      Pictured Twizy doesn't count in these 5000+ units (2200 sold last year), plus 3600+ vans (read: Kangoo panel van, almost alone on the market)
      Tweaker
      • 1 Day Ago
      Is this a troll?
        ElectricAvenue
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Tweaker
        If by "this" you mean the comment about nuclear-powered cars, the answer, I think, is no. France's power is provided mostly by nuclear generating stations. Thus EVs charged in France are nuclear powered.
          Tweaker
          • 1 Day Ago
          @ElectricAvenue
          ummm, no, it's about the article, If you could read the timeline, you'd see my comment was first. The point about France's nuclear surplus is well taken and noticeably absent from the article. The author is clearly trying to whip up some kind of nationalistic bigotry from the first sentence.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Day Ago
      I find it incredible how Danny manages to misstate what should be a simple cut and paste job. 'Automakers sold 5,663 pure electric vehicles to private users in France 2012' They are not private, and the source, GCC, does not claim that they are. For a start the Bollore Blue car is not sold to private individuals, it is used as the car for Autolib in Paris, and AFAIK ownership remains in Bollore's hands, and in any case is certainly registered to a company, not an individual.
        SVX pearlie
        • 1 Day Ago
        @DaveMart
        @Dave, fleet sales are still sales.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Indeed. It is still incorrect to say that they are private sales though, which is what I was objecting to. It is particularly annoying when it is simply and act of random imagination, since there is nothing in the source to base the comment on.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Day Ago
        @DaveMart
        @ DaveMart How your completely accurate remark get you down rated, is beyond me ! It's equally true that the French government and agencies also make up a large percentage of EV sales. Danny's optimism for Peugeot's iOn, stands in stark contrast to a Sebastian Blanco Aug 9th 2012 , ABG article which stated: " Despite some popular deals available for limited times and long-distance adventures, the Citroen C-Zero and Peugeot Ion were never big sellers. Now, Mitsubishi has decided that it's not worth it to build the electric vehicles for PSA any more. Automotive News reports that overall slow sales of the two electric cars – for the first half of 2012, 852 Ions and 935 C-Zeros were sold – mean an indefinite hiatus for the European jellybeans. A Mitsubishi representative told AN that, "This is a matter of PSA adjusting its orders to market demand. ... Our production total is lower than what we had originally hoped for." The Ion and C-Zero are both rebadged versions of the i-MiEV that Mitsubishi makes in Japan." Difficult for a model which no longer exists, to be setting future sales records !
          ElectricAvenue
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Marcopolo
          There you guys go again, confusing ABG with relevant facts.
          DaveMart
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Marcopolo
          Danny is allowed to vote too! He probably can't figure out how it works though.
      Spec
      • 1 Day Ago
      Keep selling those nuclear-powered cars!
      kEiThZ
      • 1 Day Ago
      I don't get why EVs aren't even more popular in Europe. Europeans on average drive less than 9000 miles per year. Fuel prices are stunningly high (US$6-9 per gallon). Electricity is expensive, of coure, but the differential with gas is even higher than elsewhere. And Europeans don't drive that far. The M25 is only 20 miles in a straight line distance (radius) from the centre of London. And Paris is even smaller. Major centres are closer together than the USA. And you are more likely to have better infrastructure enroute (allowing for charging stattions). Countries like France should be able to go nearly all electric in a decade if they really tried.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @kEiThZ
        If less miles are driven there are less to amortise an expensive car's upfront costs over, however cheap the fuel. We use a lot of small, cheap city cars in Europe, and for around $10-12,000 we can pick up, for instance, one of the Up variants, which works fine over limited distances and uses very little fuel. In the big cities where electric cars would otherwise make most sense, parking is a nightmare and many are apartment dwellers. Even in London, which has more houses than most other big European cities with fewer apartment dwellers, only 17% of households have more than one car. That contrasts to 66% in the US. So if you have a short range car and no second car in the household, then you are stuck for long journeys. Perhaps the Zoe will turn things around, but at the moment it is looking as though plug in cars rather than BEVs will be the winner in Europe, if anything electric is. That is for bigger cars, with small city cars staying mainly petrol/diesel.
      SVX pearlie
      • 1 Day Ago
      Holy crap, there's a metric (i.e. Frenchy) f!ckton of apples-to-oranges in the article's numbers: 1. That 5,000+ French BEVS in massively inflated to include a sh!tload of NEV-type vehicles sold without doors or windows, not meeting standard offset / side / rollover collision requirements. If it doesn't meet standard automobile safety requirements, then it shouldn't be included. If France is counting NEVs, then so should the US. 2. That 12,000 US "EV" count fails to include EVs like the Volt or PIP. That's , which have now racked up more battery miles than any other make in the US. Last year, the US sold roughly 50,000 plug-ins, not 12,000. If someone wants to polish France's apple to make them feel better, fine. But use a consistent methodology that doesn't cherry pick things. Include the 10-15k US NEVs and 35-40k EREV / PHEV as part of the US for a comparable count: - 5,600 France - 60,000 USA
        DaveMart
        • 1 Day Ago
        @SVX pearlie
        You should have checked the source article at GCC. However much the info in garbled here, it is quite plain there. The figure of 5663 does NOT include quadracycles like the Twizy. As of the end of October Renault had sold 1,999 Twizy's in France: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/zoe-20121217.html Neither does it include France's own sales of hybrids like the Volt: 'Gasoline-electric hybrids posted 13,597 registrations, with the majority (76%) from Toyota (10,357 units). Diesel hybrids posted 7,700 units mainly due to Hybrid 4 models of PSA.' (ibid) I am not interested in the comparisons to the US, but in getting the figures for France right, and your post was also inaccurate.
    • Load More Comments