Sales of electric cars expected to increase this year ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Electric vehicle.
Electric vehicle. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

Sales of electric cars are expected to significantly increase in Estonia this year due to the introduction of European Union environmental requirements and funding support for new cars, car companies believe.

Raul Potisepp of Eleport, an electric car rental and charging infrastructure company, said: "This year it is expected that 300-500 fully electric cars will arrive and next year car manufacturers will have to start selling electric cars under EU law, otherwise they will not meet the requirements of the community."

As of the end of January, the Road Administration's register contained 1,361 electric cars. While less than a hundred electric cars were sold in Estonia last year the situation is different this year. At the beginning of 2020, state funding was introduced and in the first four hours 240 applications were made to buy cars.

The main obstacle to buying an electric car is the price. But Arno Sillat, head of the Federation of Car Sales and Service, says the price gap between petrol and electric cars is getting smaller.

"It is still 10 percent higher in the Premium class, somewhat higher in smaller cars. Certainly after the support measures come to an end, maybe an extra budget will be provided, we hope so, but for that moment, the prices of electric cars have probably fallen slightly because they are going down today. Grants are available in most EU countries, on average €5,000," Sillat said.

Electricity and gasoline prices are expected to level off by 2023.

"If all of the environmental standards that push manufacturers of electric cars into effect come into force, 95 grams of CO2 per kilometer is a very strict norm, a manufacturer can meet if he has a relatively large volume of electric cars in the program," said Sillat.

Indrek Kailan, head of the transport development department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, told Vikerraadio's "Reporteritund" that based on the practices in neighboring countries, it would be wise to continue to fund car purchases to speed up the introduction of electric cars.

"It is difficult to predict how fast the growth will be after 2022-23. With 25,000 new cars sold today, it would be difficult today to get half of the people to buy electric cars," said Kailan.

The weakest point in an electric car is the battery, which comes with a 10-year warranty from the manufacturer. 

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Editor: Helen Wright

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