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The delicate equation of “social leasing” to make the electric car accessible

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Leasing makes it possible, by renting it over several years, to have a car that you would be unable to acquire on your own. This formula, in the form of long-term rental or rental with option to purchase, has largely contributed to the distribution of premium models. The government plans to use the same mechanism to allow low-income households to sit at the controls of an electric vehicle.

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Fruit of a presidential campaign promise by candidate Macron, the concept of “social leasing” starts from a blank page. If the idea is unanimous, its implementation responds to a complex equation. The only precedents are the rental offers recently drawn up by Cetelem (around 150 euros per month) and by Crédit Agricole (100 euros), but which have so far only reached a very limited audience.

The government’s project could concern, according to an initial assessment, some 100,000 beneficiaries with state aid of around 500 euros per year. The first contracts should materialize in early 2024, first as part of an experiment. To work, “social leasing” requires the consensus of three partners: the State, the banks and the builders.

“Ten-year term”

Given the relatively high price of an electric city car (just over 20,000 euros, at least) and the limited financial capacities of the beneficiaries, the rental period will have to be long in order to reduce the rent. “A period of ten years should not exceed 100 euros per month and avoid the payment of an initial contribution”estimates the deputy of Seine-Maritime Damien Adam (Renaissance), who follows the file in the National Assembly.

Conventional rental contracts with option to purchase, which are spread over three or four years, impose a first monthly payment increased by 2,000 euros for the most affordable electric vehicles. It is also a question of ensuring that, at the end of the contract, the lessee can, if he wishes, buy back the vehicle at a very reduced price. There are also questions of the guarantee in the event of default by the contracting party – it is the State which should provide it – and the beneficiaries.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers In the automotive industry, leasing offers banks unprecedented opportunities

“Insofar as it is a question of supporting the most precarious workers, we can consider that the public concerned will correspond, at a minimum, to the beneficiaries of the activity bonus, i.e. an income of around 1,800 euros per month”believes Damien Adam, who also wishes to include “big wheels”. Among the latter, professions such as liberal nurses could be concerned. It remains to determine the list of vehicles likely to be retained. And this one is nothing fancy.

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