France’s transport emissions have decreased by 10% since 1990 to 125 MtCO₂e in 2019. The number of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) in France’s light vehicle fleet has grown exponentially over the past decade but its share still remains low at only 1.4% (or 450,000 vehicles) of total fleet in 2021.
Our analysis of 1.5°C compatible pathways indicates that CO₂ emissions will need to fall to 55 MtCO₂e (or 56% compared to 2019 levels) by 2030. The sector could be fully decarbonised between 2047 and 2050.
Following the EU’s new phase-out date of 2035 for internal combustion engine vehicles, France will need to update its national target year of 2040. Electrification is one of the main drivers of the transport sector decarbonisation. Our analysis show that to be 1.5°C compatible, the share of electricity in transport will need to increase from 2% in 2019 to 11–46% by 2030.
Through its long-term strategy, France has indicated that it will increase both the energy performance of its vehicle fleet in line with EU standards and the amount of renewable energy to power electric vehicles. The government has introduced several incentives, including tax exemptions, to promote the uptake of electric vehicles. However, some of these benefits are extended to alternative fuel vehicles such as those powered by compressed natural gas (CNG). Incentivising use of gas would risk carbon lock-in and jeopardise the achievement of overall decarbonisation.
The French government also plans to incentivise a modal shift by increasing public transport use by 7% between 2015 and 2050. This will include improving rail network performance for passenger and freight transport.