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Romania introduces new-fangled EV policy

BMWs in Bucharest. Source: BMW Blog

Romania sleeks ahead as Environmental minister incentivises EV ownership through €10,000 grant

Romania has enacted a new amendment in a bid to incentivise EV uptake. It is a bold step for a country with a GDP per capita of US$10,700, especially in the current climate racked by political uncertainty in the wake of protests against governmental policies which would strip back anti-corruption laws.

Last week, Minister of Environment, Waters, and Forests announced the launch of an improved car program with a €10,000 (US$10,650) incentive for the acquisition of a new electric car. The Rabla Plus program was launched in 2016, running complementary to the Rabla program which offers the buyer of an eco-friendly car €1,450 (US$1,547).

Car companies and dealers will have to register with the authorities by the end of the year to qualify for the Rabla Plus program. The electric car models currently available and sold on the Romanian market include BMW (i3 and i8), Mitsubishi iMiEV, Renault Zoe, Renault Twizy, Kangoo Z.E. or Volkswagen e-Up.

Foresights

In comparison with other post-Soviet countries, Romania seems to be quite forward-thinking in terms of encouraging environmental policy.

In contrast, Poland has been butting heads with EU ministers over the former’s lack of agency in addressing environmental policy. In January, pollution levels in its capital, Warsaw, were at levels similar to Beijing. The decision to mitigate the problem by making public transportation free for one day was almost comical.

Despite its foresight however, Romania is still developing, with many people opting for second-hand cars in order to save cash. Former Environmental Minister Christiana Pasca Palmer urged car companies in October 2016 to build cheaper models to make EV uptake possible for the entire population.

At the time, there were 600 EVs in Romania. Right now, the BMW i3 is the most popular car, valued at about US$36,000. An estimated 1,000 Tesla Model 3s have been ordered, despite scepticism that it may end up costing around US$100,000 for a fully-specced model. Nevertheless, the value of most EVs would make a visit to Dracula’s castle seem a welcome prospect.

Proportion of PEVs in Romania
Number of EV charging stations in Romania (Source: European Alternative Fuels Observatory)

 

A focus on ameliorating the cost of EVs for the majority of the population who currently can’t make the stretch is needed across the globe, but it has not thus far been taken seriously by many automakers.

Romania remains at base level in terms of EV uptake when compared with other EU countries, but hopes to emulate countries such as the UK, Germany, and France, where over 12,000 units are sold annually. In 2015, Romania sold 495 hybrid and electric vehicles, more than doubling sales since 2014, APIA data show. So far, 17 EVs have been registered in the first quarter of 2017.

Improving charging infrastructure (shown in the graph above) and exemptions from tax will keep people from turning pale in the face by lowering perceived costs and anxieties related to buying an EV. Governmental policy is going in the right direction… so long as environmental policy continues to bypass the political turmoil.

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