Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles

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Plug-in electric vehicles subject to incentives in some countries include battery electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicle conversions. Shown here is a Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid recharging

Government incentives for plug-in electric vehicles have been established by several national and local governments around the world as a financial incentive for consumers to purchase a plug-in electric vehicle. The amount of these incentives usually depends on battery size and the vehicle all-electric range, and some countries extend the benefits to fuel cell vehicles, and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles.


Ontario established a rebate between CA$5,000 (4 kWh battery) to CA$8,500 (17 kWh or more) (~US$4,991 to US$8,485), depending on battery size, for purchasing or leasing a new plug-in electric vehicle after July 1, 2010. The rebates are available to the first 10,000 applicants who qualify.[1][2] The province also introduced green-coloured licence plates for exclusive use of plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles.[1][3][4] These unique green vehicle plates allow PEV owners to travel in the province's carpool lanes until 2015 regardless of the number of passengers in the vehicle. Also, owners are eligible to use recharging stations at GO Transit and other provincially-owned parking lots.[1][4]

Nissan Leaf, Smart electric drive, and Mitsubishi i MiEV (from farthest to closest) electric cars in downtown Toronto.

As of July 2013, according to the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario, eligible plug-in electric vehicles in the province are the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Tesla Model S, Smart electric drive, Fisker Karma, Ford Focus Electric, Chevrolet Volt, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, and Azure Transit Connect Electric.[5]

Quebec began offering rebates of up to CA$8,500 (US$8,485) beginning on January 1, 2012, for the purchase of new plug-in electric vehicles equipped with a minimum of 4 kWh battery, and new hybrid electric vehicles are eligible for a CA$1,000 rebate. All-electric vehicles with high-capacity battery packs are eligible for the full CA$8,000 rebate, and incentives are reduced for low-range electric cars and plug-in hybrids. Quebec's government earmarked CA$50 million (US$49.9 million) for the program, and the maximum rebate amount is slowly reduced every year until a maximum of CA$3,000 in 2015, but the rebates will continue until the fund runs out. There is also a ceiling for the maximum number of eligible vehicles: 10,000 for all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, and 5,000 for conventional hybrids.[6][7]

The Government of British Columbia announced the LiveSmart BC program which will start offering rebates of up to CA$5,000 per eligible clean energy vehicle commencing on December 1, 2011. The incentives will be available until March 31, 2013 or until available funding is depleted, whichever comes first. Available funds are enough to provide incentives for approximately 1,370 vehicles. Battery electric vehicles, fuel cell vehicles and plug-in hybrids with battery capacity of 15.0 kWh and above are eligible for a CA$5,000 incentive. Also effective December 1, 2011, rebates of up to CA$500 per qualifying electric vehicle charging equipment will be available to B.C. residents who have purchased a clean energy vehicle.[8][9]


The Chinese BYD F3DM plug-in hybrid benefits from a 50,000 yuan (~US$7,634) subsidy paid directly to the carmaker.

On June 1, 2010, the Chinese government announced a trial program to provide incentives up to 60,000 yuan (~US$9,281 in June 2011) for private purchase of new battery electric vehicles and 50,000 yuan (~US$7,634 in June 2011) for plug-in hybrids in five cities.[10][11] The cities participating in the pilot program are Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hangzhou, Hefei and Changchun. The subsidies are paid directly to automakers rather than consumers, but the government expects that vehicle prices will be reduced accordingly. The amount of the subsidy will be reduced once 50,000 units are sold.[10][11]

In addition to the subsidy, the Chinese government is planning to introduce, beginning on January 1, 2012, an exemption from annual taxes for pure electric, fuel-cell, and plug-in hybrid vehicles. Hybrid vehicles will be eligible for a 50% reduction only.[12]

A mid-September joint announcement in 2013 by the National Development and Reform Commission and finance, science, and industry ministries confirmed that the central government will provide a maximum of US$9,800 toward the purchase of an all-electric passenger vehicle and up to US$81,600 for an electric bus. The subsidies are part of the government's efforts to address China's problematic air pollution.[13]


As of April 2011, 15 of the 27 European Union member states provide tax incentives for electrically chargeable vehicles, which includes all Western European countries plus the Czech Republic and Romania. Also 17 countries levy carbon dioxide related taxes on passenger cars as a disincentive. The incentives consist of tax reductions and exemptions, as well as of bonus payments for buyers of PEVs, hybrid vehicles, and some alternative fuel vehicles.[14][15]


Electric vehicles are exempt from the fuel consumption tax, levied upon the first registration, and from the monthly vehicle tax. In addition to tax breaks, hybrid vehicles and other alternative fuel vehicles benefit from a fuel consumption tax that pays bonuses to passenger cars with low carbon dioxide output. Alternative fuel vehicles, including hybrids, qualify for as much as €800 (around US$1,120) in annual bonuses. This bonus is valid from 1 July 2008 until 31 August 2012.[14][15]


The Belgian government established a personal income tax deduction of 30% of the purchase price including VAT of a new electric vehicle, up to €9,190. Plug-in hybrids are not eligible.[16][17][18] This tax incentive will end on December 31, 2012.[19] There is also available a tax deduction up to 40% for investments in external recharging stations publicly accessible, to a maximum of €250.[17] The Wallonia regional government has an additional €4,500 eco-bonus for cars registered before December 31, 2011.[20]

Czech Republic[edit]

Electric, hybrid and other alternative fuel vehicles used for business purposes are exempt from the road tax.[15]


The Renault Fluence Z.E. was launched in Israel in 2012 as part of the Better Place network. It is also available in France with payment of a monthly fee for the battery.

Electric vehicles weighing under 2,000 kg are exempt from the new car registration tax since 1985, but available models were so limited that by 2009 only 497 EVs are registered in the entire country.[18][21] The registration tax in Denmark is based on the vehicle's purchase price of the vehicle, and is set at 105% if the vehicle price is up to DKK79,000 (around US$13,250) and 180% if the price is above DKK79,000.[18] The government also grants free parking in downtown Copenhagen for EVS.[21] This exemption does not apply to hybrid electric vehicles.[18]


Estonia has allocated a total of 9 million in grants towards the purchase of battery electric vehicles. Each vehicle is subsidised with up to 18,000.[22]


Until July 31, 2012, a premium, under a Bonus-Malus system, was granted in France up to €5,000 for the purchase of new cars with CO
of 60 g/km or less which benefited all-electric cars and any plug-in hybrid with such low emissions. Vehicles emitting up to 125 g/km or less, such as hybrids and natural gas vehicles, were granted up to €2,000.[18][23] The incentive could not exceed 20% of the sales price including VAT, increased with the cost of the battery if it is rented.[18]

Effective on August 1, 2012, the government increased the bonus for electric cars up to €7,000 but capped at 30% of the vehicle price including VAT. The price includes any battery leasing charges, and therefore, electric cars which need a battery leasing contract also are eligible for the bonus. An electric car sold for €23 333 including VAT is eligible for the maximum bonus of €7,000. This bonus was reduced to €6,300 in November 2013.[citation needed] The emission level for the maximum bonus was raised to 20 g/km or less. Cars with emission levels between 20 to 50 g/km are eligible to a bonus of up to €5,000, and between 50 to 60 g/km are eligible to a bonus of up to €4,500. At this limit, the bonus drops to €550.[24]


In May 2010, under its National Program for Electric Mobility, Chancellor Angela Merkel set the goal to bring 1 million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020.[25][26] However, the government also announced that it will not provide subsidies to the sales of plug-in electric cars but instead it will only fund research in the area of electric mobility.[25] Electric vehicles and plug-ins are exempt from the annual circulation tax for a period of five years from the date of their first registration.[18][27]

The private use of a company car is treated as taxable income in Germany and measured at a flat monthly rate of 1% of the vehicle's gross list price. So plug-in electric cars have been at a disadvantage since their price tag can be as much as double that of a car using a conventional internal combustion engine due to the high cost of the battery. In June 2013 German legislators approved a law that ends the tax disadvantage for corporate plug-in electric cars. The law, backdated to 1 January 2013, allows private users to offset the list price with €500 per unit of battery size, expressed in kilowatt hours (kWh). The maximum offset was set at €10,000 corresponding to a 20 kWh battery. the amount one can offset will sink annually by €50 per kilowatt hour.[28]

In August 2014, the federal government announced its plan to introduce non-monetary incentives through new legislation to be effective by 1 February 2015. The proposed user benefits include measures to privilege electric cars, just like Norway does, by granting local governments the authority to allow electric vehicles into bus lanes, and to offer free parking and reserved parking spaces in locations with charging points.[29][30]


All electric and hybrid vehicles are exempt from the registration tax.[15]


All electric vehicles are exempt from VAT up to kr 6,000,000, and the tax is applied at the normal rate for the remainder of the price.[31] Electric vehicles also get free parking in the city center for up to 90 minutes, which also applies to cars with CO
emissions of less than 120 g/km and weigh less than 1,200 kg, which excludes several electric cars such as the Tesla Model S.[citation needed][clarification needed]


The Opel Ampera plug-in hybrid is available in several European countries.

Ireland offers a government grant of €5,000 for the purchase of a new electric cars.[32] Electric and hybrid vehicles had a reduction of up to €2,500 off the registration tax between July 2008 and December 2010.[18]


Electric vehicles are exempt from the annual circulation tax or ownership tax for five years from the date of their first registration. Thereafter, EVs benefit from a 75% reduction of the tax rate applied to equivalent gasoline-powered vehicles.[15]


Buyers of electric vehicles and other vehicles emitting 60 g/km or less of carbon dioxide are eligible to receive a premium of €3,000 (around US$4,200) until 31 December 2011. In order to qualify for the rebate, the owner must have concluded an agreement to buy electricity from renewable energy.[14][15]


Buyers of electric vehicles and plug in hybrids are eligible to receive €9,000 (around US$12,600) from the Monegasque Government. In addition vehicles owners are allowed to park free at any public parking facility.[33][34]


Launched in the Dutch market in 2013, the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV became the country's top selling plug-in electric vehicle.

There are no direct purchase subsidies for electric vehicles, but other existing incentives include total exemption of the registration fee and road taxes, which result in savings of approximately €5,324 for private car owners over four years[15][35] and €19,000 for corporate owners over five years.[36] Other vehicles including hybrid vehicles are also exempt from these taxes if they emit less than 95 g/km for diesel-powered vehicles, or less than 110 g/km for gasoline-powered vehicles.[15]

Buyers also have access to parking spaces in Amsterdam reserved for battery electric vehicles, so they avoid the current wait for a parking place in Amsterdam, which can reach up to 10 years in some parts of the city.[37]

Considering the potential of plug-in electric vehicles in the country due to its relative small size and geography, the Dutch government set a target of 15,000 to 20,000 electric vehicles with three or more wheels on the roads in 2015; 200,000 vehicles in 2020; and 1 million vehicles in 2025.[38][39] The first target was achieved in 2013, two years earlier, thanks to the sales peak that occurred at the end of 2013.[40] According to official figures, 30,086 plug-in electric vehicles with three or more wheels have been registered in the country through 31 December 2013.[38]


The Buddy and REVAi were among the top selling electric cars in Norway until 2010. Shown a free parking lot for EVs with charging stations.

All-electric cars are exempt in Norway from all non-recurring vehicle fees, including sales tax. Electric vehicles are also exempt from the annual road tax, all public parking fees, and toll payments, as well as being able to use bus lanes. These incentives are in effect until 2018 or until the 50,000 EV target is achieved.[41][42] At rate of growth reached by early 2014, the target of 50,000 EV registered could be met by the third quarter of 2015. Also, it is expected that sometime in April 2014, Norway will become the first country with a market penetration where one in every 100 registered passenger cars is all-electric.[43]

Until June 2013, plug-in hybrids have not been eligible for these benefits.[44][45] Because the Norwegian tax system levies higher taxes to heavier vehicles, plug-in hybrids are more expensive than similar conventional cars due to the extra weight of the battery pack and its additional electric components. Beginning on 1 July 2013, the existing weight allowance for conventional hybrids and plug-in hybrids of 10% will be increased to 15% for PHEVs.[46]

Electric cars have access to bus lanes in Norway. Shown a Nissan Leaf, the top selling plug-in electric car in the country since 2012.

According to a study by an analyst of Statistics Norway, the tax exemptions on the purchase of an electric car are worth almost US$11,000 in comparison to the fully taxed price of a regular internal combustion engine car, which is equivalent to US$1,400 a year over a car's lifetime (8 years). The value of the toll exemption for driving into Oslo are worth US$1,400 per year, the free parking is worth US$5,000 per year, and electric cars avoid other charges worth US$400 a year. Without adding value to the benefit of driving in bus lanes, the annual benefit of owning an electric car in Oslo is estimated at US$8,200 per car, per year. The analysis used a Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid as the benchmark vehicle.[47]

The Norwegian project Grønn bil (Green Car) disputed these figures because they consider the analysis is based on unrealistic assumptions. The group argues that the analysis used a very short total vehicle lifespan of 7.8 years, while Norway's' average is closer to 18 years; it is very unlikely that a vehicle can be parked in Oslo between 1,875 hours and 3,000 hours per year to save the estimated US$5.000 considering the existing time limits for parking; and the typical EV owner drives around15,000 km (9,300 mi) per year, not the 6,500 km (4,000 mi) implicit in the analysis. Using what they consider more realistic assumptions, Grønn bil estimates that the annual benefit of owning an electric car in Oslo is estimated at US$3,336 per car, per year, 40% of Holtsmark's estimation. They also found that the cost per tonne of CO2 emissions reduced is US$2,499, not the US$13,600 estimated by Holtsmark.[48]


Portugal established a government subsidy of €5,000 for the first 5,000 new electric cars sold in the country. In addition, there is in place a €1,500 incentive if the consumer turn in a used car as part of the down payment for the new electric car.[49] Electric cars are also exempt from the registration tax.[18]


Romania offers a government grant of up to 25% of the price (or max. €5,000) for the purchase of a new electric car.[50] Furthermore, through the cash-for-clunkers program (scrappage program), those who wish to purchase an electric car will receive six vouchers of over €5,000 (as of 2011) in return for their used car.[50]


In May 2011 the Spanish government approved a €72 million (US$103 million) fund for year 2011 to promote electric vehicles. The incentives include direct subsidies for the acquisition of new electric cars for up to 25% of the purchase price, before tax, to a maximum of €6,000 per vehicle (US$8,600), and 25% of the gross purchase price of other electric vehicles such as buses and vans, with a maximum of €15,000 or €30,000, depending on the range and type of vehicle.[51] Several regional government grant incentives for the purchase of alternative fuel vehicles including electric and hybrid vehicles. In Aragón, Asturias, Baleares, Madrid, Navarra, Valencia, Castilla-La Mancha, Murcia, Castilla y León electric vehicles are eligible to a €6,000 tax incentive and hybrids to €2,000.[18]


In September 2011 the Swedish government approved a 200 million kr program, effective starting in January 2012, that will provide subsidies for the purchase of electric cars and other "super green cars" with ultra-low carbon emissions (below 50 grams of carbon dioxide per km).[52]

There is also an exemption from the annual circulation tax for the first five years from the date of their first registration that benefits owners of electric vehicles with an energy consumption of 37 kWh per 100 km or less, and hybrid vehicles with CO
emissions of 120 g/km or less. In addition, for both electric and hybrid vehicles, the taxable value of the car for the purposes of calculating the benefit in kind of a company car under personal income tax is reduced by 40% compared with the corresponding or comparable gasoline- or diesel-powered car. The reduction of the taxable value has a cap of 16,000 kr per year.[15]


Switzerland has a car import tax which is 4% of the purchase price (before adding the VAT) which is waived for electric cars.[53][54] Since Switzerland consists of 26 cantons which have their own legislature, additional incentives for plug-in electric vehicles differ between the respective regions. The current list can be downloaded from the website of the Swiss Department of Energy.[55]

There are no additional incentives on the actual purchase price, but some cantons offer road tax cuts. The Swiss road tax is a yearly recurring fixed amount calculated based on the specifications of the tax payers car. Currently, only the cantons Glarus (GL), Solothurn (SO), Ticino (TI) and Zurich (ZH) are completely waiving the tax for plug-in electric vehicles.

Calculation example for Zurich

Based on a usual car with the following specification:[56]

  • Engine: 2 L
  • Total weight: 1800 kg
  • Energy efficiency: C
  • Year: 2013

The resulting tax to be paid per year will be SFr 278. Hence when calculating with a life expectancy of 10 years, the car owner in this example might save around SFr 2,780 when buying a plug-in electric car.

However, since the tax on fossil fuels are relatively high in all European countries, including Switzerland, there is still an indirect, but quite strong incentive for car buyers to decide for energy efficient vehicles.

Based on the following examples:

  • Fuel economy: 7.8 L/100 km (30 mpg-US) unleaded
  • Driving habits: 15,000 km (9,300 mi) per year
  • Fuel tax: SFr 0.7312 per liter (SFr 2.7679 per gallon)
  • Carbon tax (since January 1, 2014): SFr 0.1414 per liter (SFr 0.5353 per gallon)

The resulting taxes on the burned fuels will be around SFr 1,021 per year, which results in SFr 10,210 over the car's 10-year lifetime.

United Kingdom[edit]

Plug-in Car Grant

The Plug-in Car Grant started on 1 January 2011 and is available across the U.K. The programme reduces the up-front cost of eligible cars by providing a 25% grant towards the cost of new plug-in cars capped at GB£5,000 (US$7,800). Both private and business fleet buyers are eligible for this grant which is received at the point of purchase. The subsidy programme is managed in a similar way to the grant made as part of the 2009 Car Scrappage Scheme, allowing consumers to buy an eligible car discounted at the point of purchase with the subsidy claimed back by the manufacturer afterwards.[57][58][59]

The Tesla Roadster was available in the U.K. but not included on the government's plug-in electric car grant list of eligible vehicles.[60]

The scheme was first announced in January 2009 by the Labour Government. The coalition government, led by David Cameron, took office in May 2010 and confirmed their support of the grant on 28 July 2010. This confirmed that GB£43 million would be available for the first 15 months of the scheme, with the 2011 Spending Review confirming funding for the programme for the lifetime of the Parliament of around GB£300 million.[61][62][63]

Vehicles eligible for the subsidy must meet the following criteria:[58][64]

  • Minimum top speed: Vehicles must be able to reach a speed of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) or more.
  • Warranty: Vehicles must have a 3-year or 60,000 miles (97,000 km) vehicle warranty (guarantee) and a 3-year battery and electric drive train warranty, with the option of extending the battery warranty for an extra 2 years(‘drive train’ means the parts that send power from the engine to the wheels. These include the clutch, transmission (gear box), drive shafts, U-joints and differential).
  • Battery performance: Vehicles must have either a minimum 5-year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard, or extra evidence of battery performance to show reasonable performance after 3 years of use
  • Electrical safety: Vehicles must comply with certain regulations (UN-ECE Reg 100.01) that show that they are electrically safe.
  • Crash safety: To make sure cars will be safe in a crash, they must either have: EC whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) or evidence that the car has appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards

As of July 2014, the following 20 cars are eligible for the grant: BMW i3, Chevrolet Volt, Citroen C-Zero, Ford Focus Electric, Mia electric, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, Nissan e-NV200 5-seater Combi, Nissan Leaf, Peugeot iOn, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Renault Fluence Z.E., Renault Zoe, Smart Fortwo electric drive, Tesla Model S, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Vauxhall Ampera, Volkswagen e-Golf, Volkswagen e-Up!, and Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid.[65] The Tesla Roadster was not included in the government's list of eligible vehicles for the plug-in electric car grant. Tesla Motors stated that the company applied for the scheme, but did not complete its application.[60] As of 31 March 2014, the cumulative number of eligible registered cars totaled 8,696 units since January 2011.[66]

Plug-in Van Grant

The Plug-In Car Grant was extended to include vans since February 2012. Van buyers can receive 20% - up to £8000 - off the cost of a plug-in van. To be eligible for the scheme, vans have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private can receive the discount at the point of purchase. The eligibility criteria are:[67]

The Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell is eligible for the Plug-In Van Grant.
  • Vehicle type: only new vans are eligible (vehicle category ‘N1’ with a gross weight of 3.5 tonnes or less). This includes pre-registration conversions (normal, internal combustion engine vans that were converted to battery or hybrid versions by specialist converters before the car’s first registration).
  • Carbon dioxide exhaust emissions: vehicles must emit less than 75 grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per kilometre driven.
  • Range: eligible fully electric vans must be able to travel a minimum of 60 miles between charges. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) must have a minimum electric range of 10 miles.
  • Minimum top speed: vehicles must be able to reach a speed of 50 miles per hour or more.
  • Warranty: Vehicles must have a 3-year or 60,000-miles vehicle warranty (guarantee) and a 3-year battery and electric drive train warranty, with the option of extending the battery warranty for an extra 2 years
  • Battery performance: vehicles must have either a minimum 5-year warranty on the battery and electric drive train as standard

or extra evidence of battery performance to show reasonable performance after 3 years of use

  • Electrical safety: vehicles must comply with certain regulations (UN-ECE Reg 100.00) that show that they are electrically safe.
  • Crash safety To make sure cars will be safe in a crash, they must either have EC whole vehicle type approval (EC WVTA, not small series) or evidence that the car has appropriate levels of safety as judged by international standards.

As of 31 December 2013, a total of 404 claims had been made through the Plug-in Van Grant scheme.[67] Consumers, both business and private can receive the discount at the point of purchase.[67] As of July 2014 the following 10 vans are eligible for the grant: BD Otomotive eTraffic, Citroën Berlingo, Mercedes-Benz Vito E-Cell, Faam Ecomile, Faam Jolly 2000, Mia U, Nissan e-NV200, Peugeot ePartner, Renault Kangoo Z.E., and Smith Electric Edison.[65]

Plugged-in Places

The Government is supporting the ‘Plugged-In Places’ programme to install vehicle recharging points across the UK. The scheme offers match-funding to consortia of businesses and public sector partners to support the installation of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK.[68] There are eight Plugged-In Places: East of England;[69] Greater Manchester; London;[70] Midlands;[71] Milton Keynes;[72] North East;[73] Northern Ireland;[74] and Scotland. The Government also published an Infrastructure Strategy in June 2011.[75]

London congestion charge

All-electric vehicles (BEVs) and eligible plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) qualify for a 100% discount from the London congestion charge. As of April 2014, approved PHEVs include the BMW i3 with range extender, BMW i8, Chevrolet Volt, Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Porsche 918 Spyder, Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, Vauxhall Ampera, and Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid.[76][77]

The original Greener Vehicle Discount was substituted by the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) scheme that went into effect on 1 July 2013. The ULED introduced more stringent emission standards that limited the free access to the congestion charge zone to any car or van that emits 75g/km or less of CO2 and meets the Euro 5 emission standards for air quality. As of July 2013 there are no internal combustion-only vehicles that meet this criteria. The measure is designed to limit the growing number of diesel vehicles on London's roads. Mayor Boris Johnson approved the new scheme in April 2013, after taking into account a number of comments received during the 12-week public consultation that took place. About 20,000 owners of vehicles registered for the Greener Vehicle Discount by June 2013 were granted a three-year sunset period (until 24 June 2016) before they have to pay the full congestion charge.[78][79][80][81]


The Central Government, through the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), provides a subsidy of 20% on the ex-factory price or 100,000, whichever is less, typically amounting to 75,00093,000. The Government of NCT – Delhi provided a 15% subsidy on the purchase of the Reva car in New Delhi. This subsidy ended on 31 March 2012.[82]

In January 2013, the Indian government announced a new plan to provide subsidies for hybrid and electric vehicles. The plan will have subsidies up to 150,000 for cars and 50,000 on two wheelers. India aims to have seven million electric vehicles on the road by 2020.[83] Exemptions:


The Japanese government introduced the first electric vehicle incentive program in 1996, and it was integrated in 1998 with the Clean Energy Vehicles Introduction Project, which provided subsidies and tax discounts for the purchase of electric, natural gas, methanol and hybrid electric vehicles. The project provided a purchase subsidy of up to 50% the incremental costs of a clean energy vehicle as compared with the price of a conventional engine vehicle.[85] This program was extended until 2003.[86]

In May 2009 the Japanese Diet passed the "Green Vehicle Purchasing Promotion Measure" that went into effect on June 19, 2009, but retroactive to April 10, 2009.[87] The program established tax deductions and exemptions for environmentally friendly and fuel efficient vehicles, according to a set of stipulated environmental performance criteria, and the requirements are applied equally to both foreign and domestically produced vehicles. The program provides purchasing subsidies for two type of cases, consumers purchasing a new passenger car without trade-in (non-replacement program), and for those consumers buying a new car trading an used car registered 13 years ago or earlier (scrappage program).[87][88]

Tonnage and acquisition tax reductions[edit]

The cost of the Mitsubishi i MiEV in Japan falls from ¥4 million to ¥2.8 million after all government incentives are discounted from the sales price.[89]

New next generation vehicles, including electric and fuel cell vehicles, plug-in hybrids, hybrid electric vehicles, clean diesel and natural gas vehicles are exempted from both the acquisition tax and the tonnage tax. Other fuel efficient and low emission passenger cars, mini cars, and heavy-duty vehicles have a tax reduction that vary between 50 to 75% depending on the compliance of the new vehicle as compared to 2010 fuel efficiency standards and their improvement with respect to 2005 emissions standards.[88][90] Acquisition taxes on used vehicles will be reduced by 1.6% to 2.7%, or between 150,000 yen (~US$1,600) and 300,000 yen (~US$3,200). Electric and fuel cell vehicles have a 2.7% reduction while plug-in hybrids have a 2.4% reduction.[88][91]

These incentives are in effect from April 1, 2009 until March 31, 2012 for the acquisition tax which is paid once at the time of purchase. The tonnage tax reductions are in effect from April 1, 2009 until April 30, 2012 and the incentive is applicable once, at the time of the first mandatory inspection, three years after the vehicle purchase.[88][90] As an example, the amount exempted for the purchase of a new next generation vehicle is 81,000 yen (~US$975) corresponding to the acquisition tax, and 22,500 yen (~US$271) for the tonnage tax, for a total of 103,500 yen (~US$1,246).[88]

Automobile tax reductions[edit]

Consumers purchasing new next generation electric vehicles, including fuel cell, benefit of a 50% reduction of the annual automobile tax, and natural gas vehicles benefit only if their certified emissions are 75% down from 2005 standards. These incentives were in effect from April 1, 2009 until March 31, 2010, applicable only once.[88]

Incentives for purchasing new green vehicles[edit]

Subsidies for purchases of new environmentally friendly vehicles without scrapping a used car are 100,000 yen (~US$1,100) for the purchase of a standard or small car, and 50,000 yen (~US$550) for the purchase of a mini or kei vehicle. Subsidies for purchasing trucks and buses meeting the stipulated fuel efficiency and emission criteria vary between 200,000 yen (~US$2,100) to 900,000 yen (~US$9,600).[87][90][91]

Subsidies for purchases of new environmentally friendly vehicles in the case of owners scrapping a 13 year or older vehicle are 250,000 yen (~US$2,700) for the purchase of a standard or small car, and 125,000 yen (~US$1,300) for the purchase of a mini or kei vehicle. Subsidies for purchasing trucks and buses meeting the stipulated fuel efficiency and emission criteria vary between 400,000 yen (~US$4,300) to 1,800,000 yen (~US$19,000).[87][90][91]

All incentives for new purchases with or without trading were applicable in Japan's fiscal year 2009, from April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010.[90][91]

United States[edit]

Federal government[edit]

The Chevrolet Volt (top) and the Nissan Leaf (bottom) are PEVs eligible for a U.S. federal tax credit up to US$7,500, and additional incentives in several states.

First the Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008, and later the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) granted tax credits for new qualified plug-in electric drive motor vehicles.[92] The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) also authorized federal tax credits for converted plug-ins, though the credit is lower than for new PEVs.[93]

New plug-in electric vehicles[edit]

As defined by the 2009 ACES Act, a PEV is a vehicle which draws propulsion energy from a traction battery with at least 4 kwh of capacity and uses an offboard source of energy to recharge such battery.[92] The tax credit for new plug-in electric vehicles is worth $2,500 plus $417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity over 4 kwh, and the portion of the credit determined by battery capacity cannot exceed $5,000. Therefore, the maximum amount of the credit allowed for a new PEV is $7,500.[92]

The new qualified plug-in electric vehicle credit phases out for a PEV manufacturer over the one-year period beginning with the second calendar quarter after the calendar quarter in which at least 200,000 qualifying vehicles from that manufacturer have been sold for use in the United States. For this purpose cumulative sales are accounted after December 31, 2009. Qualifying PEVs are eligible for 50% of the credit if acquired in the first two quarters of the phase-out period, and 25% of the credit if bought in the third or fourth quarter of the phase-out period.[92] Both the Nissan Leaf electric vehicle and the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid, launched in December 2010, are eligible for the maximum $7,500 tax credit.[94] The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, released in January 2012, is eligible for a $2,500 tax credit due to its smaller battery capacity of 5.2 kWh.[95]

A 2013 study published in the journal Energy Policy determined that current federal subsidies are "not aligned with the goal of decreased gasoline consumption in a consistent and efficient manner." In particular, hybrid-vehicle credit is given according to battery capacity rather than electric-only vehicle range.[96][97] This has in part encouraged the creation and marketing of vehicles such as the hybrid Cadillac Escalade, which gets a maximum of 23mpg on the highway.[98]

Plug-in conversion kits[edit]

Plug-in electric drive conversion are also eligible for a maximum $4,000 federal tax credit. Shown here are normal Toyota Prii that were converted to Plug-in hybrids recharging in San Francisco.

The 2009 ARRA provided a tax credit for plug-in electric drive conversion kits. The credit is equal to 10% of the cost of converting a vehicle to a qualified plug-in electric vehicle and in service after February 17, 2009. The maximum amount of the credit is $4,000. The credit does not apply to conversions made after December 31, 2011.[93][99]

Charging Equipment[edit]

There was (through 2010) a federal tax credit equal to 50% of the cost to buy and install a home-based charging station with a maximum credit of US$2,000 for each station. Businesses qualified for tax credits up to $50,000 for larger installations.[94][100] These credits expired on December 31, 2010, but were extended through 2013 with a reduced tax credit equal to 30% with a maximum credit of up to US$1,000 for each station for individuals and up to US$30,000 for commercial buyers.[101][102]

New proposals[edit]

An initiative by the Obama Administration to increase the maximum tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles to US$10,000, would not apply to luxury vehicles with a sales price of over US$45,000, such as the Cadillac ELR (shown) and the Tesla Model S.

Two separate initiatives were pursued in 2011 to transform the tax credit into an instant cash rebate. The objective of both initiatives was to make new qualifying plug-in electric cars more accessible to buyers by making the incentive more effective. The rebate would have been available at the point of sale allowing consumers to avoid a wait of up to a year to apply the tax credit against income tax returns.[103][104] The first initiative was from Senator Debbie Stabenow who reintroduced the "Charging America Forward Act." This bill was originally introduced in August 2010 but was not voted by the full Senate.[103] The bill would have turned the tax credit into a rebate worth up to US$7,500 for plug-in electric vehicles and also would have provided businesses with a tax credit for purchasing medium or heavy duty plug-in hybrid trucks.[105] The other initiative was from the Obama Administration and was submitted in the FY 2012 Budget as a provision to transform the existing credit into a rebate that would have been claimable by dealers and passed along to the consumers.[104][106]

Another change to the law governing the plug-in tax credit was introduced by Senator Carl Levin and Representative Sander Levin who proposed to raise the existing cap on the number of plug-in vehicles eligible for the tax credit. The proposal would have raised that limit from the existing 200,000 PEVs per manufacturer to 500,000 units.[103]

In March 2014 the Obama Administration included a provision in the FY 2015 Budget to increase the maximum tax credit for plug-in electric vehicles and other advanced vehicles to US$10,000, over the current US$7,500. However, the new maximum tax credit would not apply to luxury vehicles with a sales price of over US$45,000, such as the Tesla Model S and the Cadillac ELR, which would be capped at US$7,500. According to the Treasury Department, the proposal intends to transform the existing tax credit into a rebate available at the point of sale that will be claimable by dealers and passed along to the consumers. The proposal also seeks to remove the 200,000 vehicle cap per manufacturer after which the credit phases out over a year. Instead, the incentives would begin to phase out starting in 2019 for all manufacturers, and the credit would be completely phased out by 2022, and fall to 75% of the current credit starting in 2019.[107]


The Tesla Model S is eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit and an additional $2,500 rebate in California.

The Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP), initially funded with a total of US$4.1 million by the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board (ARB), was established in order to promote the production and use of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including plug-in electric and fuel cell vehicles. The program was created from Assembly Bill 118 that was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger in October 2007. The funding is provided on a first-come, first-served basis, and the project is expected to go through 2015.[108]

Eligible vehicles include only new ARB-certified or approved zero-emission or plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. A list of eligible vehicles can be found on the California Center for Sustainable Energy web site.[109] Among the eligible vehicles are neighborhood electric vehicles, battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and fuel cell vehicles including cars, trucks, medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles, and zero-emission motorcycles. Vehicles must be purchased or leased on or after March 15, 2010. Rebates of up to $5,000 per light-duty vehicle are available for individuals and business owners who purchase or lease new eligible vehicles. Certain zero-emission commercial vehicles are also eligible for rebates up to $20,000.[108][109]

Besides a $2,500 federal tax credit, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is eligible for an additional $1,500 rebate in California.

According to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, a total of $1.4 million were distributed in 2010 for 213 plug-in vehicles that received the rebate, leaving $2.3 million available for 2011. In January 2011 the California Energy Commission (CEC) allocated a $2 million contribution for the program, and considering the $5 million coming in second year funding, funds available for the rebates will amount to $9.3 million in 2011. The additional $2 million provided by CEC are reserved for rebates of vehicles capable of carrying four passengers and highway driving, providing enough money for 400 more buyers of such plug-in vehicles to benefit from the program.[110] Once these funds were exhausted, the 2011-2012 program offered a lower rebate of up to $2,500. An additional $15 million was allocated for the 2011-2012 year program.[111] In February 2012, the California Energy Commission approved an additional US$4.5 million to support purchases of light-duty zero-emission electric vehicles and light-duty plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. All vehicles must be capable of freeway operation and certified for at least four passengers.[112] Current availability of CVRP funds can be checked on the California Center for Sustainable Energy web site.[113]

The 2012 Chevrolet Volt fitted with a low emissions package qualifies in California for the US$1,500 CVRP rebate and since February 2012 have free access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes.

The 2011 Chevrolet Volt was not submitted for application to the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project rebate and therefore was not eligible for the state rebate. The reason is that the Volt did not meet the 10-year 150.000-mile (241.402 km) battery warranty requirement for partial zero-emissions vehicles (Enhanced AT-PZEV). The Volt team explained that for the launch GM decided to go with a common national package which includes an 8-year 100,000-mile (160,000 km) battery warranty.[114][115] In November 2011 General Motors announced that beginning in February 2012, all models manufactured for the California market will feature a new low emissions package that will allow the 2012 Chevrolet Volt to qualify as an enhanced, advanced technology –partial zero emissions vehicle (enhAT-PZEV) and have access to California’s high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV). The new standard California version of the Volt features a modified engine and exhaust components. The catalytic converter was modified to add a secondary air-injection pump. Owners of a 2012 Volt with the low emissions package will be eligible to apply for one of 40,000 initially available HOV lane stickers issued to vehicles that qualify as a California AT-PZEV. Additionally, the new low emissions package will make the 2012 Volt eligible for owners to receive up to US$1,500 in state rebates through the state’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Project (CVRP).[116] Only the 2012 Volts manufactured after February 6, 2012, are fitted with the low emission package.[117]

As of early September 2012, private individuals accounted for 88% of rebate funds reimbursed.[118] As of early March 2013, CARB has issued about 18,000 rebates totaling US$41 million.[112] However, CARB notices that approximately 2,300 Chevrolet Volts were sold in California before the Volt became eligible for the rebate in February 2012.[119] As a result of the rebate and other existing incentives, such as allowing solo drivers in HOV lanes, California is the leading PEV market in the United States with about 40% of all new plug-in electric vehicles sold nationwide during 2011 and 2012, while the state represents about 10% of all new car sales in the country.[112]

As of 10 March 2014, a total of 52,264 clean vehicle rebates have been issued by the CVRP, for a total of US$110,222,866 disbursed, with only US$3.8 million remaining for fiscal year 2013-2014. The distribution of the rebates issued correspond to 27,210 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), including both battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs); 24,657 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs); 49 commercial zero-emission vehicles (CZEVs); 210 zero-emission motorcycles (ZEMs); and 138 neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs). CVRJ notes that not all plug-in electric vehicles sold in California are captured in the CVRP database because not every PEV owner applies for the rebate. In terms of market share, and without accounting for the 2,300 Volts sold before February 2012, as of early March 2014, plug-in hybrids represented 47.2% of all clean vehicle rebates, while ZEVs, predominantly all-electric cars, represented 52.11% of all rebates issued.[120]

As of April 2014, the CVRP is facing an estimated US$30 million funding shortfall for the 2013-14 fiscal year, and uncertainty about additional funding for the 2014-15 fiscal year. CARB staff presented a proposal to the board to overcome the funding shortage and also to facilitate the rebates to benefit buyers in disadvantaged communities who live in areas with bad air quality or who can’t afford high-end electric cars. The options being considered are to reduce the rebate by US$500 and to set a US$60,000 cap to the manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the vehicles, which would exclude the Cadillac ELR and the Tesla Model S from benefiting from the rebate.[121]

Access to HOV lanes

In California a vehicle that meets specified emissions standards may be issued Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decals that allow the vehicle to be operated by a single occupant in California's high-occupancy vehicle lanes (HOV), or carpool or diamond lanes. All-electric vehicles are classified as Federal Inherently Low Emission Vehicles (ILEVs), and as zero emissions vehicles are entitled to an unlimited number of white CAV stickers. Green CAV stickers are available to the first 55,000 applicants that purchased or leased cars meeting California’s Enhanced Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (Enhanced AT PZEV) or Transitional Zero-Emission Vehicle (TZEV) requirements, for which plug-in hybrids classify. The number of green stickers available was increased from 40,000 to 55,000 in July 2014.[122][123] As of 9 May 2014, the initial 40,000 green stickers were issued.[123] The green sticker limit was increased by 15,000 beginning July 1, 2014, through the budget trailer bill SB 853.[123][124] Initially, the green and white clean air sticker were set to expire on January 1, 2015, but in 2013 the expiration date for the green stickers was extended to January 1, 2019.[123][125]

Other states[edit]

Several states have established incentives and tax exemptions for BEVs and PHEVs, and other non-monetary incentives, as detailed in the following table:

State incentives for plug-in electric vehicles[126]
State Amount of
Type of
Type of
Carpool lane
Arizona BEVs Lower licensing fees Yes Eligibility for PHEVs depends on the extent to which the vehicle is powered by electricity.
California up to $2,500 BEVs Purchase rebate Yes Free access to HOVs through January, 1st, 2015, which also benefits natural gas vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.[127]
up to $2,500 PHEVs Purchase rebate Yes PHEV free access to HOV lanes for first 40,000 applicants until January 1, 2015.[127]
As of 28 April 2014, a total of 39,359 green stickers have been issued.[123] However, as of 29 April 2014 and according to the California Air Resources Board, the number of pending applications waiting processing at the California Department of Motor Vehicles already has significantly exceed the number of available green stickers.[128]
up to $1,500 Electric motorcycles
and NEVs
Purchase rebate No
Colorado up to $6,000 BEVs
and PHEVs
Income tax credit No Tax credit totaling 75 to 85% of the cost premium for a PEV purchase up to $6,000.
A 20% rebate also available for EV charger installation.[129]
District of Columbia BEVs
and PHEVs
Excise tax exemption and reduced registration fees n.a.
Florida Yes In addition, EVs are exempt from most insurance surcharges.
Georgia up to $5,000 BEVs Income tax credit Yes Tax credit of 20% of the cost of a zero emission vehicle up to $5,000.[130]
up to $2,500 Alternative fuel
Income tax credit Yes Tax credit of 10% of the conversion cost for a vehicle converted to run solely on an alternative fuel and meets the standards for a low-emission vehicle up to $2,500. PHEVs not included.[130]
Hawaii up to $5,000 BEVs
and PHEVs
Purchase rebate n.a. Available for both PEV purchase and charging station costs. Up to $4,500 for vehicle only.[131] Rebate expired May 2012.[132]
Illinois up to $4,000 BEVs, PHEVs
and conversions
State rebate No Covers 80% of cost premium or conversion price, up to $4,000. You must prove the conversion was done in the state of Illinois, or you will not receive any credit.
Louisiana up to $3,000 BEVs, PHEVs
and conversions
Income tax credit No Tax credit of 50% of cost premium for BEV/PHEV purchase, 50% of conversion cost, or a tax credit worth 10% of the cost of a new BEV/PHEV vehicle up to $3,000. This same credit also applies to charge station costs.
Maryland BEVs
and PHEVs
Massachusetts up to $2,500 BEVs
and PHEVs
Purchase rebate Rebates will be funded with $2 million allocated to the Massachusetts Offers Rebates for Electric Vehicles (MOREV) program.[134]
Montana up to $500 Alternative fuel conversion Income tax credit No Credit only available for conversion costs up to $500 or 50% of conversion cost. Includes electric car conversion.[135]
New Jersey up to $4,000 BEVs Sales tax exemption Yes Exemption for qualifying BEVs only, not PHEVs. Rebates on BEV purchases also available for local governments.
Oklahoma 50% cost BEVs, PHEVs
and conversions
Income tax credit No Credit applies to either conversion cost or the cost premium of a new BEV purchase. For PHEVs, the credit is based on the portion of the vehicle attributable to propulsion by electricity. Tax credit also available for 75% of charge station cost.
Oregon up to $5,000 PHEVs and conversions Income tax credit No Available for conversion or PHEV purchase costs only.
up to $1,500 BEVs Income tax credit No Tax credit for purchase of or conversion to BEV.
Pennsylvania up to $3,000 BEVs
and PHEVs
Purchase rebate n.a. Rebates of $3,000 continue to be offered for PHEVs and EVs (battery system capacity equal/greater than 10 kWh) for the first 500 qualified applicants. Upon payment of the first 500 rebates at $3,000 or December 31, 2013, whichever occurs first, rebate amounts offered will be reassessed and likely reduced if funds remain. As of 11 July 2013, 335 rebates remain at US$3,000.[136]
South Carolina up to $1,500 BEVs
and PHEVs
Income tax credit No Tax credit equalling 20% of federal credits for PHEVs and BEVs.
Tennessee $2,500 BEVs Tax rebate n.a. Only to the buyers of the first 1,000 electric vehicles sold in the state.[137]
Utah up to $2,500 Conversions only Income tax credit Yes
up to $750 BEVs
and PHEVs
Income tax credit Yes
Washington BEVs
and PHEVs
Sales tax No BEVs are exempt from 6.5% sales tax and PHEVs exempt from the motor vehicle sales tax of 0.3%. Tax exemptions also apply to charge station parts and labor costs.
West Virginia up to $7,500 BEVs
and PHEVs
Income tax credit Yes Link to state tax code.[138]

Other states considering similar incentives are Connecticut, New York, and Texas.[126]

See also[edit]


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