Electric car subsidy scheme out of favour this year: NOS

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The government’s fund for subsidising electric car sales is still more than half full, but last year it was empty by May, NOS said on Monday.

Everyone buying an electric car costing less than €45,000 is eligible for a €2,950 subsidy, but demand this year is well down, and motoring organisations are concerned, the broadcaster said.

“A lot of people would like to shift to electric cars but it should not start costing much more,” Harm Zeven from road users association ANWB told NOS. “Mobility already costs a huge amount.”

There are several obstacles in the way to higher electric car sales, experts say.

The outgoing government has pledged to subject electric vehicles to road tax from 2025 – they are currently exempt. Road tax is based on weight and electric cars’ heavy batteries mean road tax will mount up to €80 per month.

In addition, electric cars which can travel long distances without being recharged also tend to cost more than the subsidy limit. The subsidy also only applies to cars which cost less than €45,000 when new, which means many second-hand cars don’t fall under the scheme either.

Eindhoven university professor Maarten Steinbuch told NOS that the Netherlands had been ahead of the field in encouraging a switch to electric company cars through a range of tax breaks, but is losing ground when it comes to private drivers.

In France drivers can claim a €5000 subsidy and in Germany almost €7000, he points out. In the Netherlands “if you can spend more than €40,000 on a car, then €2950 is not going to make the difference,” he said.

Any changes to the electric car subsidy scheme and the road tax plans will be up to the next government.

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