Study: Aid measure for electric car purchases should continue

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An electric vehicle charging station. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

An analysis of the need for a subsidy for the purchase of electric vehicles and of the market situation of electric cars and their charging infrastructure in Estonia found that the support measure for acquiring fully electric vehicles should continue.

Mart Kiis, adviser at the climate department of the Ministry of the Environment, said that the study commissioned in cooperation between the Ministry of the Environment, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, Environmental Investment Center and the Kredex foundation serves as basis for a new aid measure for the purchase of low-emission vehicles to be developed this fall.

"The study showed that in the course of drawing up a new support measure, the focus should be placed on fully electric vehicles as the classification of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) among low-emission vehicles may be subject to reassessment in the EU in the future," Kiis said.

Even though developing the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is important, the study showed that there is already a number of companies in the market engaged in the construction and management of the infrastructure and that supplementary state intervention is unnecessary.

The goal of the planned subsidy for the purchase of low-emission vehicles is to give impetus to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector as price is currently the main factoring hindering the growth of the electric car market in comparison to that of the internal combustion engine.

The subsidy has the greatest impact on reducing greenhouse gases in combination with other measures fostering the use of low-emission vehicles and sustainable mobility. 

When it comes to promoting electric vehicles, it is extremely important to also take into consideration the method of electricity production, which in Estonia still significantly relies on fossil fuels. "The share of renewable energy in the network is growing gradually, however, and thus the positive climate impact of electric vehicles will also increase," Kiis said.

The transport sector produced slightly over one-sixth of Estonia's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, and road transport accounted for 98 percent of the emissions in transport. The state has set an objective of reducing emissions in transport close to 27 percent by 2035 compared with 2019. In order to achieve this, the transport system needs to be rendered more sustainable and the use of low-emission vehicles must be increased in all forms of transport.

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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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