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Industry response mixed to Paris charging SUV drivers higher parking fees

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Photo by Brandon Green on Unsplash

The new mobility industry has responded with mixed feelings about Paris City Hall’s decision to impose higher parking fees on owners of SUVs as the French capital seeks to reduce pollution levels. 

Paris councillors unanimously voted last month to increase the fees for SUVs from 01 January 2024 by considering the size, weight and motor of these vehicles, though specific details of the charges are yet to be announced.

The hope is that raising fees will encourage people to switch to smaller, lighter forms of electric vehicles.  

According to officials, the number of SUVs in Paris has increased by 60% in the last four years and they now make up 15% of the 1.15m private vehicles parked in the streets. 

Adam Norris, CEO and Founder of specialist retailer Pure Electric which sells private e-scooters in Paris told Zag Daily: “We like this policy but my concern is how will they enforce this.  

“I do think other cities will follow suit with this style of tax on bigger vehicles though. Governments are going to make it so painful across the world to use the car in the city that people will just give up.

“When combined with one way routes, low traffic neighbourhoods and other policies, this is what will really encourage people to adopt light electric vehicles.”

Nicolas Gorse, Chief Business Officer at shared micromobility operator Dott, which runs a fleet of more than 4,000 e-bikes in Paris is less confident about the policy’s potential. 

“We encourage policies which reduce the dominance of cars in our cities. But singling out only SUV’s will not resolve the pollution and congestion in our cities. Most of this is caused by single-drivers travelling small distances in city centres, so we would encourage policy makers to consider ways of reducing this and supporting a shift to efficient and environmentally friendly alternatives.”

It is expected that electric vehicles and those with larger families requiring a bigger car will avoid the increased fees. 

Besides Paris, the city of Lyon has also announced plans to penalise parking for the heaviest and most polluting vehicles. 

Matthew Clark, Steer and CoMoUK’s Chair, commented that “Increasing parking charges for larger and heavier vehicles sends a strong signal to drivers to choose a vehicle more appropriate for city streets. 

“This progressive policy should encourage the use of smaller lighter vehicles including the full range of micromobility (albeit not share e-scooters given the recent referendum).”

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