A grant of 5,500 euros is now available for people buying an electric car, financed by the Andalusian Energy Agency with funds from the Spanish government. There are also subsidies for plug-in hybrid cars, battery-powered motorcycles and small lorries and vans which use alternative fuels such as gas. The list even includes cars propelled by hydrogen fuel cells, even though few of those are available on the market.
The subsidies are processed by the dealers themselves, but the scheme is not as straightforward as it sounds. José Miguel Cañamero, who runs Nissan Safamotor (its Leaf model is the best-selling electric car on the market) explains that to be eligible, the client has to scrap a conventional car which is more than ten years old, and that will discourage many people from taking up the offer. "We think there should have been a more simple system, such as discounting the IVA," he says.
In the case of a mid-range Nissan Leaf, the price on the road will be 27,690 euros after the 5,500 euro subsidy. That is more expensive than a similar vehicle which runs on fuel or a hybrid, but there are pros and cons: the cost of the electricity is much lower (about one euro per 100 kilometres if charged at night) and maintenance is cheaper. However, electric cars are still not ideal for long journeys.
The subsidies are based on the distance different types of vehicle can travel in electrical mode. For example, 1,300 euros for those that do between 12 and 32 kms, and 2,600 if they can travel between 32 and 72. Electric motorcycles are eligible for a discount of 750 euros, and quadricycles which operate on batteries between 600 and 800 euros. Cars propelled by hydrogen fuel cells ae also eligible for a grant of 5,500 euros.
There are also further discounts for purchasers with physical disability and those with large families.