France makes it harder to quickly resell new electric cars for profit

Jessica Thompson

PARIS — France has put in place new rules that make it harder to profitably “flip” new electric cars bought with state incentives, including requiring owners to keep the car for a year before they can resell it.

Under the new French rules, owners must keep their new EV for 12 months instead of six, and must drive a minimum of 6,000 km (3,728 miles). If either of those conditions are not met, the incentive must be reimbursed to the government.

Used-car prices have soared in recent months, with new cars scarce due to supply chain issues. Full-electric cars have become particularly desirable due to the increase in gasoline and diesel prices driven by the war in Ukraine.

For example, a search on Reezocar, a Europe-wide online used-car broker, found a number of 2020-21 Tesla Model 3s asking above list price, with 6,000 to 15,000 km.

Tesla had tailored its prices and specifications to meet French incentive limits, and according to the French magazine L’Automobile, there were instances of French buyers selling nearly-new Teslas in other countries, where prices are higher.

Until a recent price hike, Tesla sold a version of the Model 3 sedan in France at just below the 45,000-euro ($48,400) limit to receive the maximum incentive of 6,000 euros.

France’s EV bonus is one of the most generous in Europe. Private buyers of cars 45,000 euros and under can get 6,000 euros (incentive cannot exceed 40 percent of the price), and 1,000 euros for cars between 45,000 and 60,000 euros. Electric commercial vans come with a 7,000-euro incentive.

Plug-in hybrids are eligible for a 1,000-euro bonus. 

Professional buyers are eligible for slightly smaller incentives.

Buyers can also receive a government bonus for turning in older diesel and gasoline models if they buy a new or used zero- or low-emissions vehicle.

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