At the current rate of conversion of the automobile fleet, it will take us 100 years to achieve zero in specific passenger transport. The study “Incentive Policies for Electric Vehicles in Europe”, carried out by consultants 3Drivers and S317, states that more direct incentives are needed for the renewal of fleets and charging stations, as well as a tax review.
“Portugal does not have targets for the number of electric vehicles, only scenarios”, revealed António Lorena, a partner at 3Drivers, during a presentation of the study promoted by the Portuguese Automobile Trade Association (ACAP). Spain, for example, has set a target of reaching 250,000 new registered electric vehicles by 2023, having implemented support of 400 million euros. Portugal dedicated 4 million euros from the Environmental Fund to incentives for the acquisition of up to 700 electric vehicles, in 2021, with a maximum value of 3,000 euros per car. In Germany, direct support is €9,000 per vehicle, in Italy €5,000.
Taxation also supports electric vehicles differently across countries. Portugal offers discounts in terms of Vehicle Tax, Single Tax on Circulation (IUC) and VAT, but “it depends on vehicle technology and not on achievements, as it should be and as other countries do”, defended Lorena. The VAT deduction for companies should be granted without a vehicle price limit, the VAT should be reduced in the case of the final consumer and the entire IUC Deveria “be reformulated, to be based on information and not on engine capacity”.
“The Portuguese target of having 30% of electric passenger mobility in 2030, at the current rate, would take many decades. Only 5% of new registrations of purely electric vehicles, in other words, to reach that figure, we would have to have annual sales of 209,000 vehicles – more than the current total, with and without electric vehicles”, António Lorena. “To reach the more than 200,000 electric vehicles sold per year, even if there could not be support for everyone, the incentive to just 700 is a very small drop,” he illustrated.
With regard to charging stations, we are not among the worst, but we are not doing well either: “The Netherlands has 390 service stations per 100,000 inhabitants, Portugal has four. In Portugal, we have 30 electric vehicles per public service station, in the Netherlands it is only four per post”. Knowing that “most people will want to carry their car at home, during the night, and not at a public service station”, one consultant thought that incentives for the private sector should be created, in addition to investment in the public network. “In Norway, all new buildings must secure charging stations and this does not cost the state money,” added Lorena.
In Italy, those who own an electric vehicle have discounts on car insurance. Something that Portugal could apply “through partnerships with insurers”. Among other direct incentives, the study provides that Portugal can offer exclusive and free parking spaces, access to limited circulation areas and the use of dedicated bus lanes, as well as a reduction in toll fees through the integration of electric vehicles in the most economical category. Public campaigns to promote the benefits of electric mobility are also important.
“In short, Portugal does not encourage enough, in comparison with other countries, the charging network is not enough and there is a lack of support and it is necessary to fine-tune a concrete strategy with defined objectives”, concluded António Lorena.