After banning old cars, the city of Paris is going after big ones. Over 54% of the Parisians who voted in a referendum chose to triple parking rates for what socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo considers “heavy, bulky, and polluting cars” — including many electric and plug-in hybrid models.
The referendum was held on Sunday, February 4, and only 5.7% (about 78,000) of the roughly 1.3 million eligible voters bothered to voice their opinion. The resolution passed with a support rate of 54.55%, and it’s scheduled to come into effect on September 1, 2024. While many have described the law as being against crossovers and SUVs, whether a car is concerned by it depends on its weight, not on its body style.
Motorists who drive a gasoline-, diesel-, or plug-in-hybrid-powered vehicle that weighs more than 1,600 kilos (about 3,500 pounds) will need to pay more to park in central Paris. Those who drive an electric car that weighs over 2,000 kilos (roughly 4,400 pounds) will need to pay the same rate, which will check in at €18 per hour in central Paris and €12 per hour in the surrounding areas (about $19 and $13, respectively).
The law makes an exemption for Paris residents with a valid parking permit, taxi drivers, entrepreneurs, health workers, and handicapped drivers. And, parking in central Paris will remain free overnight and on Sundays regardless of what you drive and how much it weighs.
How many cars will be affected by the new measure depends on who you ask. Citing city hall officials, French newspaper Le Figaro writes that approximately 10% of the vehicles that park in Paris are over the weight limit. It adds that third-party estimates provided to Les Échos, another French newspaper, suggest the real-world figure is closer to 16%, which represents about 129,000 cars within the Paris city limits.
Around half of those fall in the SUV category; the others are sedans or vans. The list of cars that will soon be considered overweight includes the Tesla Model Y, some variants of the Volkswagen ID.4, and the plug-in hybrid versions of the BMW X5 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC. Most body-on-frame SUVs (like the original Land Rover Defender; pictured) and many luxury sedans (such as the S-Class) are affected as well.
Officials claim the law will make the Paris cleaner and safer; they also point out they expect to make an extra €35 million (about $38 million) in revenue annually. There’s no word on how Paris will enforce the measure, though it will likely be linked to a car’s registration number.