Bulgaria is set to draft a new law to encourage electric mobility and provide incentives to buy electric vehicles. Plans for the new law were announced by Deputy Prime Minister for Climate Policy and Minister of Environment, Borislav Sandov in April. According to the Minister, the goal is to have at least 30,000 electric vehicles in Bulgaria by 2026..
Data from the European Alternative Fuels Observatory shows Bulgaria lags behind most European countries in terms of electric mobility. Some 3.3% of new passenger car registrations in 2021 were either battery electric vehicles (BEV) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), while the share in the total fleet was 0.1% in the same year. In comparison, the average shares for the EU were 17.9% and 1.6% respectively.
Affordability is one major reason for the low uptake of electric vehicles in Bulgaria. Average prices for electric vehicles are higher than those for conventionally fuelled vehicles and average household income in Bulgaria is among the lowest in the EU. Unlike many other EU countries, electric vehicle purchases are not yet subsidised in Bulgaria - however, this is about to change.
Bulgaria’s Operational Programme Environment 2021-2027, which is EU co-funded, includes a measure to promote the replacement of old passenger vehicles with electric vehicles, providing a subsidy of up to EUR 6,200 per vehicle replaced. In addition, Bulgaria's National Recovery and Resilience Plan also includes financial incentives for zero-emission vehicles.
A second major barrier for the uptake of electric vehicles is the lack of charging infrastructure. It is a classic chicken and egg dilemma where the lack of charging infrastructure deters people and business to buy electric vehicles, while the low number of electric vehicles deters investment in sufficient charging infrastructure.
According to Minister, Sandov, “Construction of charging infrastructure and electrification of vehicles will be accelerated, which will bring Bulgaria closer to the European long-term goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction.” He stated that 10,000 charging stations should be built so everyone can charge their electric car. “This will create a dense charging network that focuses on the main areas where charging stations are needed, including 20-30 fast charging hubs on major roads. Public charging points for electric cars will be built in the central parts of more than 50 cities, as well as in large residential areas.”
A specialised commission for the development and encouragement of e-mobility will be appointed by the Government by the end of June 2022. It is to prepare a model of simplified regulation to encourage the construction of charging stations, while a long-term vision for the new law is going to be ready in the autumn.
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