Baptiste Morin / Photo credits: PEDRO PARDO / AFP 06:14, September 14, 2023

Pressed by the France, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced Wednesday the opening of an investigation into Chinese subsidies to electric cars, a move welcomed by EU manufacturers who denounce unfair competition. A fight that France and Bruno Le Maire have been waging against Beijing for several months.

Ursula von der Leyen denounced Chinese protectionism on Wednesday. The chair of the commission wants to respond to the massive public subsidies paid by Beijing to car manufacturers. In the background, there is the fight of the France and Bruno Le Maire. For several months, the Minister of Economy and Finance has been preparing a new ecological bonus that will promote electric vehicles produced in Europe.

An environmental score

Until now, to benefit from aid of up to 7,000 euros, two conditions prevailed: the weight of the vehicle and its price. From 1 January, the ecological bonus will only be granted to vehicles that do not exceed a certain threshold, what the executive calls "an environmental score".

>> READ ALSO - Electric car rentals: the social leasing system delayed by manufacturers

In other words: the amount of carbon dioxide emitted during the production of the vehicle will also be taken into account. In detail, the carbon footprint of the materials used - steel, aluminum - that of the battery also, the energy used in the factory, but also the emissions related to the transport of the vehicle.

BYD, MG... and Dacia?

At the end of the day, 20-30% of vehicles eligible for the bonus today will no longer be eligible for the bonus next year. Main victims: vehicles of the Chinese brands BYD or MG. But the Dacia Spring, a French car produced in China, should also pay the price of this new ecological bonus.

>> READ ALSO - Pivotal moment in Europe: electric sales surpassed diesel sales in June

To hit hard in the face of Chinese competition, Bercy is tempted to inflate the envelope devoted to the ecological bonus next year. According to information from Europe 1, it could exceed 1.5 billion euros against 1.1 billion euros this year.