Greece to offer AFV incentives to tackle emissions

24 January 2020

24 January 2020

The Greek Government is considering the introduction of incentives to promote the use of alternatively-fuelled vehicles (AFVs), including natural gas and electric cars.

Environment and energy minister Kostis Hatzidakis suggested that the move would benefit many of the country’s islands, as he unveiled a plan to tackle growing emissions. Focusing on an increase in sales of electric vehicles (EVs) and the gas refuelling infrastructure will also help boost sales.

The minister said the National Plan for Energy and Climate includes a goal that one in three new vehicles will be electric by 2030. He acknowledged that this goal sounds ambitious, but noted that developments and technological progress could surpass this goal in the future. 

Across industry

Hatzidakis said the Government planned to support domestic production of biofuel and presented plans to promote the use of compressed natural gas (CNG) in light vehicles and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in heavy vehicles and shipping.

The national plan envisages the development of eight LNG fuel stations and 55 compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel stations by 2030, up from 15 at present.

Alexandra Sdoukou, secretary general of energy and raw materials, said some of the financial incentives for the purchase of EVs include tax cuts and lower duties, or subsidising the purchase price, along with other incentives to facilitate their use, such as free parking.

She noted that electric cars accounted for less than 1% of new car sales in 2019 in Greece and stressed that according to EU data, Athens, along with Milan, has the highest emissions rate from transport and vehicles. This, she said, was related to the fact that Greece has one of the oldest car fleets in the EU.

Bottom four

The announcement comes as the latest EV Readiness Index from LeasePlan shows that Greece is in the bottom four countries in Europe.

The index is based on four criteria: the maturity of the EV market in a country; the maturity of a country’s public charging infrastructure; government incentives to drive a battery-powered vehicle; and LeasePlan’s forward orders for both EVs and plug-in hybrids.

LeasePlan tracked a 73% increase in public charging stations in 2019, compared to the previous year, and the number of fast chargers now stands at over 4,000 for the continent. In terms of the charging infrastructure, Norway and the Netherlands have the best ratio of chargers per inhabitant, while Greece, Poland and Romania languish a long way behind.

Across Europe, almost every government now offers generous incentives to support the uptake of EVs, and Austria, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Poland and the UK have tax systems that deliver the biggest benefits for EV drivers compared to drivers of diesel cars.

′Although our EV Readiness Index shows that electric driving is becoming a viable option in an increasing number of countries, we still have a long way to go before we get everyone driving electric,’ says LeasePlan CEO Tex Gunning. ′Millions of Europeans still live in countries where public charging infrastructure is woefully inadequate or in which they pay more taxation than drivers of fossil fuel cars.’

′Transitioning to electric is one of the simplest things we can all do to help tackle climate change and everyone should be able to afford to go green. Policymakers must, therefore, step up and continue to invest in public charging infrastructure and to incentivise EV uptake until electric becomes the common sense choice for all drivers,’ Gunning added.