While in Spain the motor sector as a whole insistently calls for more and better aid for the purchase of electric vehicles, the main world markets for this type of car are beginning to remove part of the purchase incentives. These are Norwaya pioneering country in Europe in electric mobility; China, the world’s largest electric vehicle market; and Germanythe country most assimilable of these three to the Spanish case, but which has sales of electric vehicles much higher than the Spanish ones.
In the Norwegian case, the country ended last year with an electric car market share that was close to 80%. That is, in 2022, four out of five vehicles sold were purely electric. This is due to the incentive policy that the Norwegian State has been implementing for years to electrify its car fleet, especially through two measures: the removal of registration tax (this also happens in Spain) and VAT for electric cars.
The measures mentioned above cost the Norwegian public coffers about 39,400 million Norwegian crowns (about 3,569.4 million euros at the current exchange rate) in 2022, according to figures from the Government of that country. For this reason, the Executive decided to reverse course and since January 1 of this year has reapplied a 25% VAT on electric vehicles of more than half a million crowns (45,297 million euros).
Besides, has introduced a vehicle weight taxa tax that especially affects electric cars, since these weigh more than combustion ones due to batteries, an element that can weigh up to 600 kilos, depending on the size of the vehicle.
For his part, in China, the State decided to remove aid for the purchase of electric vehicles last year, causing manufacturers such as Tesla to have to carry out aggressive price discounts to stimulate sales again. Since September, that company has lowered its prices in China by between 13% and 24%, according to Reuters calculations.
As for the german casethere the State granted aid of 6,000 euros (plus another 3,000 that the manufacturers gave) to buy an electric car, but now that public aid was reduced to 4,000 euros (which added to the manufacturer’s money makes 7,000 euros).
In addition, the German government has removed subsidies for plug-in hybrids, a type of vehicle that is halfway between combustion and pure electric (when the battery runs out, it uses gasoline or diesel to keep running). In this country, last year 470,600 electric vehicles and 362,100 plug-in hybrids were sold, representing a share of 31.3% between them in a market of more than 2.65 million units, the largest market in all of Europe.
Differences with Spain
In the Spanish case, sales of electric cars ended 2022 with a volume of 30,544 units, while plug-in hybrids reached 47,785 deliveries, according to Handy, the Spanish employers’ association of automobile manufacturers. Together they achieved a market share of 9.63%. “Spain is in another league, with a very small volume of electric cars in comparison,” he says. Aedivethe business association for the development of electric mobility, to Five days. “These countries have evolved more quickly, we are far from the chapter in which we can talk about getting aid,” adds Aedive. Anfac agrees and claims to view the case of these countries “with envy”.
“When we reach their sales levels, we’ll see what we do, but in the meantime let’s copy what has been done in other countries that have done well,” argues the Spanish auto industry association. In this sense, Anfac took advantage of the presence of the Minister of Finance and Public Function, María Jesús Montero, in a motor event last week to request more tax incentives for electric companies. “Sales of less than one million vehicles and less than a 10% market share for electric vehicles are incompatible with being an electromobility hub,” warned Wayne Griffiths, president of Anfac and Seat, in front of Montero.
Among these incentives is the improvement of the Moves III Plan to help purchase electric cars and install charging points. The industry complains about the time it takes for the money to reach the beneficiaries and that, once obtained, it must be declared in the income. This does not happen, for example, in countries like Germany, where the help is given directly to the customer at the time of purchase.
According to an estimate by Anfac made last year when the plan was endowed with 800 million, the Treasury collected about 180 million thanks to Moves III in personal income tax. This figure, now, would increase to 270 million, since the funds of the program were increased to 1,200 million.
A two-speed Europe in electric mode
The north, very advanced. In addition to the aforementioned Norwegian case, which stands out clearly in the Old Continent in the field of electric mobility, countries such as Sweden, Finland, Iceland, the Netherlands and Denmark are also very advanced in electric cars. According to data from the consultancy Jato, until September, Iceland was the country with the second highest share of the electric car market (only behind the aforementioned Norway), with 34.5%; followed by Sweden, with 30.1%; Netherlands, 23.5%; and Denmark, with 20.5%. Spain was far from those positions, with just 3.5%, very close to Italy, with a 3.72% share in electricity. Of the great ones in Europe, these are the two countries that are furthest behind in the development of electric mobility.
The biggest problem, the price. According to Aedive, the main obstacle that users find when buying an electric car is the price. This difficulty is above the charging infrastructure and the autonomy of the cars.
Little infrastructure. One of the big differences with the rest of Europe is the scarce public access charging network that exists in Spain. According to the latest data from Anfac, corresponding to September, in Spain there were 16,565 points throughout the country.
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