What are the incentives for buying an electric car?

For each country, we’ve listed the three most important incentives you’d want to know about.

Here are the main incentives for buying and owning an electric car in each EU country and in the US.

Belgium / France / Germany / Ireland / Norway / The Netherlands / Sweden / UK / USA


ELECTRIC CAR INCENTIVES : EU

BELGIUM

Though not particularly an early adopter in electric mobility, Belgium is catching up rapidly! The number of electric car sales in Belgium has grown by seven times since 2014, with the number of electric car charging stations tripling from 2014 to 2018.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in Belgium:

  • Purchase grants: Belgium provides a €4.000 grant to private electric car owners in the province of Flanders.
  • Registration tax: All electric and plug-in hybrids are exempt from registration tax in the province of Flanders.
  • Ownership tax: Fully electric cars are exempt from ownership tax in Flanders. Electric cars also have the lowest rate of the annual ownership (circulation) tax (€74 as opposed to €1.900) in all three provinces of Belgium.
  • Company tax: The company expense tax deductible is 120% for fully-electric vehicles and 100% for vehicles emitting between 1 and 60g/km of CO2. Above 60g/km, the deductible decreases from 90% to 50%.


FRANCE

France has made tremendous gains in electric car numbers over the past few years, going from less than 10,000 registered electric cars in 2012 to over 150,000 in 2018.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in France:

  • Purchase grants:
    • Fully electric: If you swap your diesel car (bought before 2016) for a fully-electric model, you’re eligible for €6.000 (environmental bonus) and €4.000 as a “thank-you for switching to electric.”
    • Plug-in hybrid: If you swap your diesel car (bought before 2016) with a plug-in hybrid, you’re eligible for €1.000 (environmental bonus) and €2.500 as a "thank-you for switching to electric."
  • Registration tax: Both fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids qualify for road tax exemptions or reductions.
  • Ownership tax: Both fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are eligible for either a 50% discount or are exempt from license plate tax depending on the province.
  • Company car tax: Fully-electric vehicles are exempt from company car tax. Plug-in hybrids are exempt for two years.


GERMANY

Home to the most beloved combustion engine car manufacturers, German has been the slowest of the bunch in pushing pro-electric plans. But as of 2015, Germany has adopted an incentive and investment program to encourage a switch to plug-in hybrids. Additionally, Germany has approved a push for a Europe-wide ban of combustion engine vehicles by 2030.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in Germany:

  • Purchase grant: There is a purchase grant of €4,000 for fully-electric vehicles and €3,000 for plug-in hybrids up to a maximum list price of €60,000.
  • Ownership tax: There is a 10-year exemption on ownership tax for fully-electric vehicles registered between 2011 and 2020. For plug-in hybrids, the ownership tax is lowered in proportion to their level of CO2 emissions.
  • Company car tax: There is a 1% on the discounted car (battery) price, a €300/kW (up to €8.000) discount on the list price for fully-electric cars and plug-in hybrids in 2017, and a €250/kW (up to €7.500) discount on the list price for fully-electrics and plug-in hybrids in 2018.


IRELAND

Even though electric cars only make of 1.5% of all vehicles on the road in Ireland, the Irish government has ambitious plans to increase the amount of electric cars to 10% by 2020, with a target of ending the sales of cars powered only by fossil fuels by 2030.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in Ireland:

  • Purchase grant: Privately purchased electric vehicles with a list price of at least €14,000 are eligible for a purchase subsidy of up to €5,000.
  • Registration tax: All electric vehicles qualify for a VRT (purchase tax) subsidy of up to €5,000.
  • Ownership tax: The lowest possible rate for motor tax of €120 is offered to electric vehicles.
  • Company car tax: The Accelerated Capital Allowances for Energy Efficient Equipment Scheme allows companies to write off 100% of the purchase price of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.
  • Infrastructure incentive: Installation of domestic electric car charging stations are covered up to €2,000.

Driving an electric car in Ireland? Your best bet for finding charging stations is in Dublin, Cork, or Limerick. Prefer charging at home or at work? We do too. The Irish government offers a €2,000 incentive for installation a domestic electric car charging station.



NORWAY

Norway was one of the early adopters of electric mobility—and it shows in their numbers! Since the early 1990s, Norway has been introducing various incentive programs to promote the transition to electric mobility. Norway’s original goal was to have 100,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2020. This number was exceeded by 2016, and as of 2018, 10% of all passenger cars on the Norwegian roads are plug-in electric vehicles. Quite an impressive accomplishment for its relatively small population of just 6 million!

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in Norway:

  • Purchase tax: There is a full purchase VAT tax exemption for fully-electric vehicles, and a reduction for plug-in hybrids.
  • Ownership tax: The annual road tax for both fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is NOK 455, compared to NOK 2.820 for petrol and NOK 3.290 for diesel cars.
  • Company car tax: A 50% reduction of company car tax is offered for fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

Living in Norway? The most public charging points are located in Bergen and Oslo. Prefer charging at home or at work? We do too.



THE NETHERLANDS

The Netherlands boasts the highest ratio of public charging points to electric vehicles. The Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the mobility sector by 17% by 2030, and by 60% by 2050. The Agreement also includes a plan to phase out all internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. As of today, approximately 50% of Dutch drivers often or are always able to charge at work.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in The Netherlands:

  • Purchase tax: Both fully-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are exempt from purchase tax. Plug-in hybrids pay additional fees based on the amount of CO2 emitted. (More details)
  • Registration tax: Fully-electric vehicles are exempt from paying registration tax. For all other vehicles, the amount of registration tax varies with the amount of CO2 that is emitted.
  • Ownership tax: Fully-electric vehicles are exempt from paying road taxes, while plug-in hybrids are offered a 50% discount. High CO2 emitting vehicles of +12 years old, will need to pay another 15% on top of the tax starting 2019. (More details)
  • Company car tax: 4% for fully-electric vehicles only, 22% for both PHEVs and high CO2emitting vehicles. (More details)


SWEDEN

One of the leaders in electric vehicle adoption, registration from plug-in electric vehicles grew a hundredfold from 2011 to 2017. Between ‘Klimatklivet,’ ‘super environmentally friendly cars,’ and ‘charge at home grant’, the Swedish government is investing in charging infrastructure and promoting sustainable vehicles. Take a look below to see how you can navigate the Swedish incentives jungle.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in Sweden:

  • Purchase grant: Previously known as the ‘Super environment car grant’, the purchase grant for environmentally-friendly vehicles was replaced on July 1, 2018, by a ‘bonus malus-system,’ where vehicles with relatively low emissions of max 60g CO2/km are eligible for a grant. Every vehicle can get a premium worth up to 60,000 SEK (approx. €6,000) and is given to both individuals and businesses. The bonus is given at a maximum of 25% of each new car purchase price. With this bonus system, Sweden aims to have an environmentally-friendly (and a fossil-free) fleet of vehicles. You can calculate your bonus at the Swedish Transport Agency’s website.
  • ’Klimatklivet’ incentive: is an investment incentive for local and regional projects which aim to reduce CO2 emissions. "All types of organizations, companies, municipalities, foundations, and associations such as housing associations can seek investment support from ‘Klimatklivet’ for charging stations. The grant covers up to 50% of the investment and is divided per two categories; not publicly built on an individual parking lot and publicly available to the public.” The grant is given four times a year, the date of which can be found on the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency’s website. Who is eligible to apply? Those who can apply are county councils, municipalities, companies, individual traders, organizations, housing associations, non-profit associations, economic associations, universities, colleges or foundations (all registered in Sweden). ‘Klimatklivet’ is not meant individuals, for which there is the ‘Charge at Home’ incentive instead.
  • ‘Charge at Home’ incentive: is granted to individuals who own a private property with that allows installation of a charging station. The grant can be given up to six months after the station is installed and covers 50% of the cost of the charging station and installation. Please note that each contribution is limited to 10.000 SEK per property.


UK

The UK government has pledged a £540m sum to boost the low emission vehicle industry. £400m of this amount is dedicated to improving charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Via the Office of Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV), the UK government offers incentives to support the wider adoption of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in the UK:

  • Purchase grant: The Plug-In Car Grant covers 35% of the cost of a car (up to a maximum of £4,500 depending on the model) and 20% of the cost of a van, up to a maximum of £8,000. This is without a doubt one of the most important incentives for private vehicles in the UK. In some cases, this purchase grant can reduce the purchase cost of electric vehicles to below that of conventional cars!
  • Registration tax: All zero emission vehicles valued at under £40,000 are fully tax-exempt, and plug-in hybrid vehicles qualify for reduced tax rates.
  • Ownership tax: Fully-electric vehicles costing less than £40,000 are exempt from the annual road tax.
  • Company car tax: (Plug-in) electric vehicles emitting less than 50g/km of CO2 have their company car tax set at only 9% for 2017-18, 13% in 2018-19, and 16% in 2019-20. The tax on any diesel company car is 4-8% higher.
  • Infrastructure incentive: There is a £500 incentive for the installation of a home charging station, and a maximum 75% subsidy for the installation of on-street residential charging stations.

Driving an electric car in the UK? You can find the densest amounts of electric car charging stations are major cities such as London and Manchester, although there are many charging points across all across the country.




ELECTRIC CAR INCENTIVES : NORTH AMERICA

USA

Since the market launch of the Tesla Roadster in 2008, over one million highway level electric vehicles have been sold in the US, along with 4.5 million hybrid electric vehicles since they were first introduced in 1999. The American federal government, along with state and local governments, are actively supporting the adoption of electric mobility.

Here are the incentives for buying an electric car in the USA:

  • Purchase tax: The federal Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides a $2,500 to $7,500 tax credit for every new electric vehicle purchased for us in the US. The amount of tax credit given is calculated in accordance with the size of the vehicle and its battery capacity. Visit the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy to calculate tax credits for electric vehicles and tax credits for plug-in hybrids. This tax credit will be available until 200,000 qualified electric vehicles have been sold in the US per manufacturer, after which the credit will begin to phase out for that manufacturer.
  • Incentives by State: There are also electric vehicle incentives by State, city, or utility. Incentives can be monetary or non-monetary and can include additional tax credits, vehicle or infrastructure incentives, registration fee reductions, loans, low-cost charging rates, and HOV lane exemptions. To search all EV laws and regulations, visit the database for Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Laws and Incentives.


Excited about the future of electric mobility yet? There's plenty of perks too.

The incentives listed in this article are defined by each country’s leading government and are always implemented nationwide. Many cities though, go a step further to get their citizens behind the electric wheel. This means that on top of your usual financial incentives, your electric car may be eligible for extra perks, depending on the city you live in or drive by:

  • Free public parking
  • Exemption from toll charges
  • Access to HOV lanes and bus lanes
  • Exemption from ferry fees
  • Free charging on public charging points

If you have any more questions about electric cars or electric car charging, please get in touch with us! We’re always happy to help.


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