CYPRUS: MPs stumped over old law banning electric vehicles on motorways

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Not only does Cyprus lack a strong incentive scheme for promoting the use of electric vehicles to reduce CO2 emissions, it would appear that it actually prohibits their use.

A forgotten law, according to daily Phileleftheros, prohibits the use of electric vehicles on highways, giving police the right to confiscate the cars of offending drivers.

The Motor Vehicle Act says, “it is not permitted to drive an electric motor vehicle on motorways that have a speed limit of 65 Km per hour”.

The ban on the use of electric cars on motorways was introduced in a government proposal and approved by Parliament more than 20 years ago when the first electric vehicles appeared in Cyprus, mainly for special purposes – transport of products indoors or for golf courses etc.

These vehicles could only move at top speeds of 30-40 km per hour. Of course, no legislator could at the time predict the evolution of electric vehicles, so a complete ban on the use of any type of electric motor vehicles on the highways was imposed.

In theory, police could stop a vehicle with an electric motor on a highway and have it impounded.

The anachronistic provision was spotted by officials from the Department of Road Transports, who initially decided to prepare a bill to lift the ban.

However, this was found to be a time-consuming affair, so they sought the assistance of MPs to prepare a bill that would scrap the clause.

But the new law proposal, despite good intentions, made matters more complicated as the bill was entitled "lifting the ban on the circulation of an electronic vehicle on highways".

Of course, electronic cars are to be found only in video games…

This being said, the hiccup with the law proposal is the least of challenges facing a country with no incentives or strategy to reducing pollutants emitted by cars.