The vast majority of electric charging stations are located in cities. That's no secret to EV owners. Consequently, this urban-based charging network doesn’t bode well for the travel prospects of future EV models. France is introducing a new incentive program for that reason, helping suburban and rural fuel stations electrify.
On August 16, 2022, the French government allotted €10M (~$10.5M USD) to co-finance electric charging station deployments at independent service stations in municipalities of “intermediate or rural density”.
"Thanks to their territorial network and the role of social cohesion that they play throughout France, small independent service stations must become key players in the energy transition,” explained France’s Minister of Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher. “This is the whole point of this aid that we are implementing and which will make it possible to accelerate the installation of electric charging stations in our country.”
In order to qualify for the aid, service centers must sell less than 2,500 cubic meters (660,430 gallons) of fuel per year. Under those stipulations, more than 4,000 businesses are eligible to receive assistance.
Depending on the power terminals installed (50kW or 150 kW), the government will finance between 60 to 70 percent of the project. Applicants must submit a request to the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME), which opened program registration on December 1, 2022. Once officials validate the submitted files, participants can expect their funds within one month’s time.
“The aid that we are implementing makes it possible to support the diversification of the offer of the small independent service stations that mesh our territories and to accelerate their modernization,” added French Minister Delegate for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, Trade, Crafts, and Tourism Olivia Grégoire. “They will thus become local actors in the electrification of mobility."
This isn’t the only State-supported infrastructure initiative we’ve seen in the last year either. In December, 2021, the U.K. floated a bill requiring all new construction projects to include EV charging points. The E.U. later proposed a mandatory 60-kilometer (37.3 miles) distance between charging stations in June, 2022. France’s latest program aims to meet those goals, but only time, and the private sector's participation, will determine if the incentive is successful or not.