The government is planning to prolong the project of electric cars


At a session having taken place today, the government gave an authorisation to the Minister of the Environment to sign amendments to the contract with Mitsubishi Corporation, upon the entry of which into force the support scheme of electric cars shall be prolonged until the end of year 2014, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles shall be added to the selection of models.

The electrical mobility programme (ELMO) prolonged by two years makes it possible for both private and legal persons and institutions of the public sector to acquire an electric car with a state grant provided by KredEx, in the amount of up to 50% of the price of the car. The maximum grant amount per one fully electric car remains at 18,000 euros, in addition to which KredEx shall compensate for the cost of home charger up to 1,000 euros.

The extended period of purchase grant gives more time for people to get used to electric cars and for first-time users to evaluate the practical experience. Also, this autumn an all-Estonian network of quick chargers shall be completed, ensuring full freedom of movement to a user of an electric car for driving longer distances. Also car sellers need additional time to bring their models of electric cars into the Estonian market.

Another important change the government wishes to implement is to make the transition to fully electric cars more flexible and extend the purchase grant scheme to plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Within the ELMO project, grants shall be issued only for those plug-in hybrid electric cars the battery capacity of which is at least 4kWh. Also, a requirement to use green energy shall be extended to them, similarly to owners of electric cars.

The amount of purchase grant to plug-in hybrids is lower than that for fully electric cars. The grant amount for plug-in hybrids depends on the battery capacity of the car battery and shall be up to 30% of the purchase price for a private person, but not more than 12,000 euros per vehicle.

It is possible to apply for the maximum grant for hybrid vehicles with battery capacity of over 16kWh. In the event of vehicles with battery capacity of 12 – 15.9; 8 – 11.9 and 4 – 7.9 kWh, the grant amounts are 9,000, 6,000 and 3,000 euros, respectively.

More detailed terms shall be developed by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications during the summer, and KredEx shall start accepting grant applications for the purchase of plug-in hybrid vehicles in autumn. The estimated number of purchase grant applications for vehicles of that type is up to one hundred.

Currently, producers of plug-in hybrid vehicles include Opel, Chevrolet, Toyota and Fisker, who have also representations in Estonia. It may be predicted that upon the extension of the support scheme, within the next year’s time several new models meeting the support criteria shall be introduced into our market.

Limited choice of electric vehicles appealing to buyers, low awareness and lack of personal experience are the main reasons for the small number of purchase grant applications. As of today, 43 purchase grant applications for electric car have been submitted to KredEx. The goal of selling five hundred electric cars with the purchase grant already by the end of year 2012 turned out to be too ambitious.

The main focus of programme ELMO started in 2011 is a test project of electric cars as innovative technology, from which the Estonian state, contract partner Mitsubishi Corporation and the rest of the world can learn. From funds obtained for the sale of CO2, state institutions received 507 electric cars, an all-Estonian network of quick chargers shall be constructed and purchase grants shall be paid for the acquisition of an environment-friendly vehicle. Also, an extensive survey of user experience of electric cars is planned.