What the next EV purchase subsidy scheme might look like

Greetings, EV enthusiasts!

As we step into the second half of 2023, it's time to take a closer look at Cyprus's electric vehicle (EV) journey.

The Statistical Service has provided some insightful data, shedding light on the progress made in embracing cleaner and greener transportation options. Let's dive into the numbers and explore the state of electrification on the island.

From January to July 2023, the total number of vehicles registered with the Department of Road Transport: 26,462.

Of the total new registrations:

  • 2.65% - 701 were electric (502 were private saloon cars).
  • 22.6% - About 6000 were hybrids (5,300 were private saloons).

If we take into account the total registrations of hybrid and electric vehicles, the percentage amounts to 25% of the total new vehicle registrations over the first seven months of 2023 - an encouraging sign that the shift to cleaner transportation is gaining momentum.

But, there's an even greater goal in sight. Cyprus has set its sights on aligning with European Union directives by reducing pollutant emissions by a substantial 32% compared to the 2005 benchmark, all by the year 2030. To achieve this ambitious target, the drive to increase the adoption of electric vehicles remains at the forefront.

The data of the total registrations of registered vehicles in the Department of Road Transport to date, show that while the data of the new registrations show signs of improvement in the effort to shift to electromobility, the bet on their share of the total is disappointing to say the least.

Specifically, 979,171 vehicles are registered in the Department of Road Transport.

  • Electric vehicles total: 2,566
  • Hybrid vehicles total: 16,341
  • Plug-in hybrids total: 612

This means that of the 979,171 vehicles circulating on Cypriot roads, only 2,566 are electric, or 0.26% of all vehicles.

Curiously, it seems that buyers are tilting more towards hybrid vehicles, despite them not being included in government subsidy plans. Impressively, hybrid cars form 1.67% of the total registered vehicles, adding to the overall shift towards greener alternatives. When we consider all three categories—electric, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid—the combined stands at 2% of all registered vehicles.

What about brand registrations?

Taking a closer look at the brands leading the charge in the EV landscape, we can note that the numbers spread across the whole board of brands including luxury-oriented brands as well as more affordable ones.

​The registrations of electric saloons show that most of them for the first seven months of the year are recorded as follows:

Brand Electric Hybrid
BMW 65 252
MG 53  
Mercedes 49  
Hyundai 43 338
Volkswagen 41  
Porsche 40 52
AUDI 34 107
Toyota 27 2045
Tesla 20  
Nissan 20 603
Kia 19 245
Skoda 18  
Volvo 15 171
Ford 15 121
MINI 6  
Honda 1 260

It should be noted that Toyota's hybrid numbers garner about 40% in this segment!

Having a glance at the brand preferences in the EV market reveals an interesting pattern, it looks like luxury brands targeted at higher-income demographics are gaining traction in the realm of electromobility. Despite an increase in the availability of EV options, particularly following the introduction of the subsidy scheme in late 2021, luxury brands are capturing a considerable share.

Challenges and Future Prospects

Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis is steering the ship towards a more comprehensive subsidy plan, aiming to extend benefits to the middle class. He acknowledges the cost factor as a deterrent for many potential EV buyers. While Cyprus is currently making gradual progress, the cost of purchasing and maintaining EVs remains an obstacle, says the Minister. The good news is that costs are anticipated to decline after 2025, driven by increased production rates.

Here at EV Power we believe that owning and maintaining an EV is actually cheaper than an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) vehicle! Look out for our relevant post and find out about the financial benefits of EVs!

The Minister's Subsidy Plans

For now, Transport Minister Alexis Vafeadis is focusing on the provisions of the next subsidy plan to find the formula to ensure that middle-class buyers also benefit from the subsidy. Besides, as he told Kathimerini, the problem with the slow pace that Cyprus is moving towards electromobility is the cost of purchase. He explained that in previous grant programs, while initially the number of interested parties was many times the number of beneficiaries, eventually most of them backed out due to the cost of purchasing and maintaining the vehicle. Costs are expected to decrease after 2025, due to the increase in the production rate, according to Mr. Vafeadis. Of course, the competent ministry cannot hope for cost reductions from the automakers themselves, after 2025, since it is running ahead of the 2030 target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 32% (instead of the 24% that was the original target) by 2030 compared to 2005. He also stressed that 2027 is a landmark year because "we need to have met a large part of our targets in order to be able to achieve our goals in 2030 and in order not to start buying green credits".

In early autumn – September or October – the new subsidy scheme for the purchase of an electric car is expected to be announced. The minister's intention is to find a way to subsidize the cheaper electric vehicles so that the middle class and the most vulnerable buyers can buy them as well. This is a suggestion that will also be examined by the technocrats of the Department of Road Transport, regarding how this can be put into practice. "In my understanding, if someone can spend €50-60,000 on an electric car, they don't need a subsidy from the government. We have moved away from the stage where we had to encourage everyone to switch to electric, and we are now focusing on how to help the middle class and vulnerable switch to electromobility", commented Minister Vafeadis.

One scenario is to set a limit on the cost of the desired car, e.g. up to €40,000, an amount in which there are several options offered. The new plan also expects the subsidy for an electric car to be combined with the withdrawal of an old one, in order to provide incentives to reduce polluting cars circulating on Cypriot roads.

Even with the subsidy plans, it is estimated that the rates of change of cars on Cypriot roads are not rates that guarantee that we will manage to change our fleet by 2030 to such an extent that we will achieve our goals. "We cannot rest on our laurels that with electric cars we will achieve our goals, which is why we are turning to the promotion of buses to a greater extent," the minister said. It is not excluded, as he said, that in the coming years we will see buses that will use hydrogen as fuel.

Looking Ahead: The Next Phase of EV Adoption

As the year unfolds, the future of EVs in Cyprus is poised for intriguing developments. With a blend of policy support, shifting consumer preferences, and a commitment to sustainability, the path to a cleaner and more electrified transportation network seems well underway.

Stay tuned for further updates on the exciting journey towards a greener Cyprus!

SOURCES: Kathimerini, TOM, CYStat

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Kyriaki Ioannou 10 August 2023
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