French regulation has been modified to include Autogas-electric hybrids in the bonus specified for hybrid electric vehicles. The bonus aims at owners and renters of eligible vehicles and, under certain conditions, also at automotive professionals in order to encourage the acquisition or lease of low-emission vehicles.
Hybrids Eligible for ‘Bonus’
The incentives are refocused on vehicles emitting less CO2 including Autogas vehicles which emit 15-20% less CO2 than conventional fuels, nearly zero particles and less nitrogen oxides.
It applies to hybrids that combine electric power and internal combustion engines fuelled with gasoline, diesel, LPG or natural gas and that emit between 61 and 110 g of carbon dioxide per kilometre. The decree excludes vehicles type-approved as hybrids but which exhibit only very low levels of hybridization (micro or mild hybrid). Autogas technology is mature and flexible and allows it to be combined with other alternative energy sources for combined environmental and economic benefits: less CO2 (*) with a hybrid electric / gasoline or diesel, less air pollution and reduced fuel costs considering Autogas is sold at 0.83 cents per litre.
Manufacturers like Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota already rely on this innovative technology and several models have been launched since 2007. In Korea and Japan, public authorities encourage the combination of hybrid electric and Autogas to combat urban air pollution.
Joël Pedessac, Managing Director of the WLPGA member the French LPG Association Comité Français du Butane et du Propane comments, “The decree reinstates Autogas, a first step which we welcome, but it is important to continue supporting alternative fuels in order to increase their uptake. Public support is essential for the development of Autogas. The specific bonuses established to encourage the development of alternative energy have shown evidence of their effectiveness. The issue of improving the air quality is not only to reduce CO2 emissions. It is much broader and must integrate pollutants such as particulates and nitrous oxides, which is known to be harmful to the health. In order to further develop the use of alternative fuels, it is important to focus the bonus on alternative energy sources only (LPG, electric, hybrid, CNG and E85) and stabilize the bonus until the end of 2017. In its report “Les nouvelles mobilités sereines et durables” the French Parliamentary Office for Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST) recommends that Autogas should receive benefits and communication efforts similar to those implemented by the government to promote electric vehicles. It is necessary to inform users about the different solutions for a sustainable mobility based on their needs and means, to reassure industrialists in their choices and thus to support the development of all alternative pathways”.
(*) In 2005, CFBP and RMGaz developed an Autogas-electric prototype hybrid vehicle, based on a Toyota Prius II model. Tests conducted by IFP revealed that the vehicle produces only 92 grams of CO2 per km, or 11.5 % less than the Prius gasoline (104 gCO2/km).