Macron pledges France will make a million electric vehicles by 2027

Country to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels from 60 to 40 per cent by 2030

French President Emmanuel Macron attends a press conference, on the second day of the G20 summit in New Delhi, India, September 10, 2023. Reuters
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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday said France would produce one million electric vehicles by 2027 as part of its strategy to reduce carbon emissions by 55 per cent by the end of the decade.

Mr Macron held a meeting with a number of ministers, including Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, as they nailed down a dozen action plans to cut carbon emissions.

"My absolute priority is decarbonisation," he said after the talks. The President called on a "fair and accessible" green transition, "which does not leave anyone behind".

Mr Macron said climate goals represent an opportunity for investment and job creation as political opposition to green policies increases across the European continent.

French low-income consumers, who cannot afford the higher initial price tag of an electric car compared to a fuel-powered vehicle, could benefit from financial incentives to make the switch.

They will soon be able to register to lease an electric vehicle – as long as it is made in Europe – at a cost of €100 a month.

The subsidy plan, which will be fully unveiled in November, will target "only be a few tens of thousands of models" at first, Mr Macron said.

France hopes in parallel to develop its own electric battery factories to reduce its dependency on China, with four new plants expected to be running and exporting by 2027.

At 66 million tonnes in 2021, the largest bulk of France's carbon emissions comes from private vehicles.

Mr Macron also wants to invest massively in domestically produced heat pumps, with the aim of manufacturing one million pumps by 2027 – three times more than current production.

"We could have, like some, implemented an outright ban on gas boilers," said Mr Macron, in an apparent reference to Germany's recent difficulties in introducing a phase-out plan.

"But we decided [...] instead to incentivise and encourage our compatriots – without a ban – to make the switch," added Mr Macron, who lauded heat pumps for their lower electricity consumption and carbon emission.

Also high on the list of priorities of the French President was "regaining control" of electricity prices.

"We'll be able to announce in October electricity prices that are in line with our competitiveness," he said, adding this would apply to households and businesses.

"By the end of the year we will regain control of the price of electricity, at French and European level."

Elsewhere in Europe, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak last week announced a five-year delay on a ban on new gas and diesel cars that was due to take effect in 2030, watering down climate goals he had said imposed "unacceptable costs" on ordinary people.

Updated: September 25, 2023, 6:21 PM