Cyprus to revive car scrappage scheme for electric vehicles

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Cyprus has not abandoned the idea of promoting a scrappage scheme to get older cars off the road for electric vehicles, despite having to withdraw a previous one due to the economic impact of coronavirus.

In comments to the website Stockwatch, Ministry of Transport permanent secretary Stavros Michael said the scheme would find its way back later this year.

Michael said that the ministry is working on a new scrappage scheme, focusing on encouraging people to replace their old bangers with a fully electric vehicle.

Minister of Transport, Yiannis Karousos, has stated that to reduce CO2 emissions in transport, programs to promote electric vehicles are being designed.

He said such schemes would include incentives for purchasing electric vehicles (cars, motorcycles, bicycles), replacing government vehicles with electric ones, and building recharging station infrastructure.

Michael told Stockwatch the ministry would enter consultation with all stakeholders, such as the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Agriculture and vehicle importers.

“The consultation aims to design a new plan that will benefit the environment, as one of the problems that had arisen in the past was the reduced availability of electric cars.”

The new scrappage scheme is expected to give impetus to a car market exiting a slump.

In the first four months of 2021, passenger saloon registrations increased by 11.7% to 9,648 compared to 8,636 last year.

In 2020, registration of passenger cars decreased by 18.4% to 30,828, compared to 37,802 in 2019.

Cyprus was forced to drop its original car scrappage scheme due to coronavirus eating up the government budget.

The Transport Ministry’s revised mini-budget following the coronavirus outbreak did not include the €3 mln earmarked for the scrappage scheme.

The scheme sought to issue grants for owners who scrap their old cars to buy newer ‘greener’ models or new electric ones to bring emissions down.

It was frozen in May 2020, after a cabinet decision revised the budget and officially abandoned last July.

A budget for the programme had been set at €3 mln, of which €2.5 mln was earmarked for the withdrawal of old cars replaced with a conventional new car meeting the emissions criteria.

According to the scheme, if an owner wished to replace his old car with an electric one, they were eligible for a €7,000 grant.

The scheme was launched on 4 February, with applicants having until 5 March 2020 to apply; within hours, the target was oversubscribed for electric vehicles.