The French government has taken a significant step towards accelerating the adoption of cleaner, greener transportation technologies by simplifying retrofit regulations. In a move aimed at expanding the possibilities and broadening the scope of retrofits, hydrogen engines have received a green light, potentially transforming the landscape of the automotive industry.
Retrofit regulations have often been criticized for their complexity, which has acted as a barrier to the scaling of cleaner transportation solutions. To address this, the French government initiated a public consultation in the spring, seeking input from all relevant stakeholders. The culmination of this effort is three new decrees published on Tuesday, October 24, signaling a positive change in retrofit regulations.
One of the key points of contention in the retrofit sector was the requirement for a technical opinion from the vehicle’s manufacturer after transformation. This requirement caused difficulties and delays for retrofit projects. The initial decree, dating back to March 2020, was limited to conversions involving electric batteries and hydrogen fuel cells.
However, the new text marks a significant expansion in possibilities. It extends the exemption from manufacturer approval to all engine types and energy sources that aim to reduce vehicle emissions. This means that technologies like LPG, hybrid, rechargeable hybrid, bioNGV, and hydrogen combustion engines are now within the scope of retrofit regulations. This expansion allows for more flexible and diverse retrofit options to reduce CO2 emissions.
It is essential to note that these exemptions apply to vehicles with a first registration date of at least five years. Furthermore, the new regulations mandate that sellers communicate the CO2 reductions achieved over a ten-year period to buyers. The calculations must consider both the emissions associated with retrofit component manufacturing and the emissions savings during usage.
These forward-looking regulations not only simplify retrofit processes but also encourage transparency and accountability in reducing vehicle emissions.
The inclusion of hydrogen combustion engines in the extended scope of retrofit regulations is a significant milestone in the evolution of clean transportation. It opens the door to more extensive adoption of hydrogen-powered vehicles, which have the potential to play a crucial role in reducing carbon emissions and advancing sustainable mobility.