Spanish Industry Minister Cristeto announces EV subsidy program with Nissan Iberia CEO Toro center and Madrid Region Environment Minister Gonzalez right

Spanish Industry Minister Cristeto announces EV subsidy program with Nissan Iberia CEO Toro (center) and Madrid Region Environment Minister Gonzalez (right).

Spanish Government Aims to Jump-Start EV Demand

The €17 million plan will include subsidies for the installation of electric-vehicle charge points in an effort to promote sales of EVs which now represent only 0.1% of nationwide demand.

MADRID – Seeking to increase demand for electric and other alternative-energy vehicles, the Spanish government announces a subsidy program named MOVEA (Mobility with Alternative Energy Vehicles) taking effect in 2016.

The €17 million ($19 million) program will include financial help for the installation of electric-vehicle charge points, one of the obstacles to greater acceptance of EVs.

Industry Secretary Begona Cristeto of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Energy and Tourism announces the initiative at the inaugural Forum on Sustainable Mobility in Madrid organized by Nissan and coinciding with European Mobility Week.

“The funds for the MOVEA program are €7 million ($7.9 million) bigger than those assigned to the precedent subsidies program, showing the Spanish government’s commitment to vehicles oriented to a sustainable mobility,” Cristeto says.

Environment Minister Jaime Gonzalez, of the regional government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid, announces the government wants to significantly increase the number of green vehicles in the taxi fleet and the number of charge points in Madrid before 2020.

Jean-Pierre Diernaz, manager-electric vehicles for Nissan Europe, notes the automaker has sold 196,000 units of its Leaf model and 44,000 units are operating in Europe. “Nissan Leaf has been a very popular model from the beginning, and since the year 2000 Leaf sales in Europe account for 21 times those of the (hybrid-electric) Toyota Prius,” Diernaz says.

Diernaz cites the urgent need to reduce pollutants from cars and light-commercial vehicles in major cities, as it is estimated 50% of the population will occupy only 2% of the total territory, generating 70% of gross domestic product and using 75% of available energy.

Price Not Problem, EV Leader Nissan Says

Marco Toro, CEO of Nissan Iberia, says at the forum EVs are not as expensive as people generally think and notes that with government subsidies, it is possible to buy an e-NV200 small van for €9,900 ($11,100) and a Leaf for €13,300 ($15,000).

However, Toro says that, although Spain is Europe’s second-largest producer of EVs, sales of these vehicles in France are 13 times that of Spain. “After a share peak of 0.16% in the total vehicle sales in Spain during 2014, EV share during the first eight months of 2015 only reached 0.11%,” he says.

Lower residual values – 25% for a 3-year-old EV, compared with 57% for an internal-combustion Nissan Qashqai – and a scarcity of charge points are among the factors in low acceptance of EVs by Spanish motorists.

Nissan has installed 123 rapid chargers in Spain, 71 of them at Nissan dealerships, with 22 more planned, representing a €2 million ($2.2 million) investment. The country currently has 160 rapid-charge points compared with 394 in France and 656 in the U.K. Spain has 761 standard charging points compared with 5,962 in the U.K. and 6,580 in France.

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