This article was written by Romain Erny.
Romain Erny is in charge of supporting international companies in Urban Mobility and New Space sectors, that want to set up or expand a business in Paris Region. If you are an international company looking to set up in Paris Region, please get in touch: Linkedin, Twitter or via the form below.
It’s impossible to ignore to exponential proliferation of electric vehicles large and small. While these innovative means of getting around are improving urban life and reducing our carbon footprint, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. What we’re seeing is that the Paris Region is already home to much of the innovation taking place in the electric mobility space and well positioned to be a leader in the years to come, as evidenced by the recent influx of public and private investment.
Electric vehicles in France today
Fun fact: the first vehicle, la Jamais Contente (or “Never Satisfied) to go over 100 km/h was fully electric and set the record in the Paris Region.
Today, France, along with Norway, leads the European EV market with more than 160,000 electric vehicles registered since 2010. The latest figures in France show an astonishing growth rate of +44% of registered EV from March 2018-2019. To be sure, the market in Europe remains niche, but growth rates suggest electric vehicles are poised to skyrocket. The French government’s national tax incentive of up to 6,000 euros for EV buyers until 2022 is certain to provide an additional boost to the market and is aligned with the country’s goal of reaching one million all-electric plug-in vehicles and 100,000 public charging stations by 2022.
A state-of-the-art electric bus fleet
The public sector is committed to accelerating this electric vehicle revolution. The Paris regional public transportation authority and the local city operator recently awarded a contract for a fleet of 800 electric buses, with the goal of replacing 4,700 diesel buses by 2025. Naturally this transformation demands massive new infrastructure, and the Paris Region is investing to retrofit depots to service these new buses.
A laboratory for mobility experimentation
Following the Autolib’ electric carsharing pioneering service, new operators have entered the Paris Region market to capitalize on changing consumer demands. Car2Go -ShareNowis the latest entrant, following Free2Move (backed by PSA Peugeot Citroën) and Moov’in Paris (backed by Renault).
The Paris Region is also a hot bed of innovation in the micromobility space. Indeed, many companies have chosen to locate here thanks to the high urban density, excellent existing infrastructure and advent of new mobility technologies that make the Paris Region a fertile place to test new ideas. The expansion of bicycle paths also represent an opportunity for other micromobility entrants, allowing more people to get around quickly and safely.
What still needs to be done to trigger the golden age in electric mobility?
Firstly, electric mobility has to be part of a global renewable energy strategy for faster and deeper penetration in power production.
Then, there are the structural obstacles that talented people are working to solve. In the Paris Region, we are proud of the intense cross-collaboration between private companies, the public sector and universities to:
- Develop breakthroughs for batteries. It is crucial for R&D to create completely renewable batteries without rare metals.
- Implement a dense, dynamic and interoperable charging network
- Diversify electric mobility and especially hydrogen-powered vehicles
These technical hurdles are much to costly to overcome for any single organization. Collaboration is key, and companies, government actors and universities must work together if there is to be significant progress.
That’s why, in the Paris Region, our mobility ecosystem is looking to share expertise and welcome talented people and international companies to tackle these challenges.
The French R&D tax credit, the most generous of its kind in Europe, combined with our regional financial support funds for startups and SMEs and the fast-track French Tech Visa are great pillars to create a solid collaboration in the Paris Region.