Incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles, including taxis and buses, and transportation means with lower emissions in combination with a car scrappage scheme were announced on Thursday by Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos.
The schemes, a step towards the transition to green transportation, were approved by cabinet this week.
The first scheme, with a €4m budget, concerns the scrappage of cars older than 12 years and their replacement with new ones with lower emissions, or with electric bicycles or in exchange for bus tickets.
For the scrappage of an old car and its replacement with a new one that emits less than 50 grammes per kilometre of carbon dioxide, the subsidy is at €7,500. In total 360 subsidies will be given.
Those wishing to scrap an old car and purchase a taxi that emits less than 50g/km CO2 the subsidy is €12,000 (33 subsidies).
For the scrappage of an old car and purchase of a new one for disabled people emitting less than 50g/km CO2 the subsidy is €10,000 (20). The same applies for purchasing a car for large families (20).
Regarding the withdrawal of an old vehicle and its replacement with a new electric bicycle, the subsidy is at €1,000 (533), while for the withdrawal of an old vehicle in exchange for free tickets on regular bus lines the subsidy will amount to €750-worth of coupons (100).
The cars must not exceed €80,000 including VAT, while for bicycles, the ceiling was set at €6,000.
Applications for this scheme will be accepted between December 6 and 20. Priority will be given based on the age of the car slated for scrappage. Older ones will be given priority.
For the purchase of electric bicycles, applications will be accepted between January 17 and 31.
The cars slated for scrappage must have a valid road tax licence and be registered in Cyprus for the past consecutive seven years. In case a car has been immobilised, it must have a valid road tax licence within the last 18 months and not have a cancelled registration on the day the applications start.
The second scheme is in the form of an “eco-reward” for the purchase of zero-carbon emissions (purely electric) vehicles, including bicycles, with optional, subsidised scrappage of old vehicles, aged 12 years and over. The budget for this scheme is €8m.
For the purchase of a new electric car, the subsidy is €9,000, and an additional €1,000 if applicants want to scrap an old vehicle. In total 360 subsidies will be given for this category.
For taxis, the amount is €19,000 plus €1,000 for the optional scrappage of an old car (24). For vehicles for disabled people (13) or large families (13), the amount is €11,000. The optional scrappage of an old car also applies here. The new vehicles must not exceed €80,000 inlcuding VAT.
The scheme also provides for the purchase of a used electric vehicle with a €4,000 subsidy plus €1,000 if applicants wish to scrap an old one. In total 320 subsidies will be given.
For used taxis the subsidy is €12,000 (25), while for the purchase of a used vehicle for disabled people (15) or large families (15), the amount is €7,000. An additional €1,000 will be given for the optional withdrawal of an old car.
This applies for vehicles that are not over €50,000 and were initially registered on January 1, 2019 or later.
The scheme also provides subsidies for the purchase of large electric buses (€100,000), small buses (€40,000), commercial vehicles (€20,000) and the purchase of electric mopeds, motorcycles, tricycles, or lightweight four-wheel vehicles (€1,500).
Applications will be accepted between December 20 and January 3 on a first-come first-served basis.
According to Karousos, who said 50 per cent of emissions come from transportation, these schemes aim to promote electric motoring and the introduction of more electric vehicles in the country but also vehicles with low carbon dioxide emissions.
On the benefits of electric vehicles, Karousos referred to low charging costs with a reduction of up to 64 per cent in comparison with conventional fuel, free road tax licence, free parking in some municipal parking areas, low maintenance costs, and reduction of pollutants even in the way energy is produced today in Cyprus.
He said the goal is for electric cars to make up one fourth of newly registered vehicles by 2030 with a gradual rise of these numbers so that almost all of new registrations by 2035 concern electric vehicles.
For more information and applications: www.ev.gov.cy
Road fatalities in Cyprus for 2019 were a little above the EU average, according to data released by Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office.
In 2019 there were 59 deaths per million inhabitants in Cyprus, compared to 52 deaths per million inhabitants on average in the European Union.
When it comes to road injuries, 768 injuries per million inhabitants were recorded in 2019 in Cyprus, well under the EU average which stood at 2727 per million inhabitants.
The number of road deaths and injuries has declined significantly in Cyprus over the past decade. The number of road deaths fell from 89 per million inhabitants in 2009 to 59 in 2019, while the number of injuries fell from 2162 per million inhabitants in 2009 to 768 in 2019.
At a regional level, the highest incidence rates were recorded in the province of Luxembourg in Belgium (171 road fatalities per million inhabitants), and Região Autónoma da Madeira (165) and Alentejo (156) in Portugal.
The lowest incidence rates were recorded in Wien in Austria (6), Stockholm in Sweden (9) and Berlin in Germany (11).
Between 2009 and 2019, the incidence rate for road fatalities in the EU fell by almost one third (-32%). This downward development was repeated in more than 9 out of every 10 regions for which data were available.
The most rapid declines were recorded in Ciudad de Melilla in Spain (-100%), while two regions in Greece (Sterea Ellada and Anatoliki Makedonia, Thraki), Wien in Austria, Västsverige in Sweden, and Luxembourg also recorded falls of more than 60%.
However, there were 19 regions across the EU where the incidence rate for road fatalities increased during this period.
Regional data are presented at NUTS 2 level. At this level of detail, Cyprus (as well as Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Iceland and Liechtenstein) are considered single regions due to the size and population of these countries.
Major infrastructure projects will go ahead as planned in the next year, including the Paphos-Polis highway and the installation of charging stations for electric cars, the transport minister said Monday.
Yiannis Karousos was speaking in parliament while presenting his ministry’s 2022 budget, which comes to €388.9 million.
“Despite the difficult economic conditions worldwide brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the state’s development policy continues unabated,” the minister later said in remarks to the media.
“No project has been cancelled or postponed. On the contrary, we continue to mature, to promulgate and execute important projects long-awaited by local communities.”
The minister told MPs that 2022 will see a number of projects – worth a total of €1.2 billion – coming into “implementation orbit”.
These include: the Cyprus Museum in Nicosia; the Paphos-Polis, Limassol-Saittas, Atromeritis-Evrychou and Palekhori-Nicosia highways; and the Larnaca-Dhekelia and Dherynia-Sotira roads.
The projects concerned are at various implementation phases – tenders underway or about to be initiated. Those projects expected to be completed within 2022 are valued at €41 million.
Karousos said the government will draw €89.3 million from the national recovery and resilience plan – co-funded by the EU – to promote the withdrawal from circulation of conventional vehicles and the provision of incentives for the purchase of electric cars.
The €89 million in financing includes the installation of 10 twin charging stations for electric cars in public spaces, such as parking lots in hospitals, museums and post offices. It will also go toward subsidising 1,000 charging points in publicly accessible spaces, businesses and local authorities.
Two incentives schemes will be promulgated: one relating to the use of electricity for all types of vehicles (cars, motorcycles, taxis, buses) and the second relating to the withdrawal of conventional, fossil-fuel powered vehicles and the purchase of electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.
The goal, according to Karousos, is for approximately 1,300 electric cars to enter into circulation each year.
The two incentives schemes should be drafted within the next 15 days and then put to the cabinet for approval.
For 2022, the transport ministry is promoting three reforms: the rollout of smart systems (traffic cameras, smart traffic lights); electric car charging stations; and the reduction of CO2 emissions by vehicles.
The ministry plans to install the smart traffic light systems at 125 points in Nicosia and Limassol. The relevant tender will be launched over the next three months.
A subsidy scheme for electric vehicles is set for approval next month, but how feasible is going electric?
By Evie Andreou
News that the government intends to relaunch a subsidy scheme to purchase electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles has renewed the debate over the cost of the vehicles, charging logistics and whether they offer true environmental benefits when virtually all of Cyprus’ electricity is produced by oil.
With conventional fossil-fuel vehicles being gradually phased out, industry insiders say a holistic range of support measures are vital to support the use of environment-friendly vehicles.
A €7 million car scrappage scheme that will subsidise the purchase of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) is currently being prepared and is expected to be submitted to cabinet for approval at the beginning of December.
The scheme will subsidise the purchase of an electric car with the optional scrappage of the owner’s old car which must be over a certain age (12 or 15 years – the details have not been finalised yet). The scheme also provides for the purchase of a used electric car up to two of three years old, or the scrappage of an old car and purchase of a PHEV.
Reports have said the subsidy would be €9,000 for the purchase of an electric car and an additional €1,000 for scrapping an old conventional one but the transport ministry would not confirm this, saying the details are still not final, while the cabinet might make changes to the proposal.
The scheme is part of the government’s goal for electric cars to make up one fourth of newly registered vehicles by 2030.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said in July that 201 such vehicles had been registered so far this year.
In 2020, 77 new electric vehicles were registered. The goal is to have around 1,000 next year, including cars, motorcycles and electric bicycles, to gradually reach 36,000 in total by 2030. The goal also includes replacing all motorcycles used in the public sector with electric ones by 2023.
The ministry plans on introducing more schemes for the purchase of electric bicycles, motorcycles, buses, commercial vehicles, taxis, vehicles for disabled persons and large families.
An original car scrappage scheme to promote electric vehicles had to be abandoned in mid-2020 because of the economic impact of the coronavirus on the state budget. According to Christos Papamichael, advisor associate to the transport minister, the ministry had received around 1,000 applications at the time.
An important part of the new scheme is that it includes second-hand electric cars.
“After speaking with importers, it emerged it would not be possible for factories to manufacture and deliver a large number of vehicles within the next year, which would mean not meeting the goals set,” Papamichael told the Sunday Mail.
Subsidising the cost of a used electric car will perhaps give those on lower incomes the chance to purchase one. New vehicles are out of reach for many, with the smallest electric car models starting at around €26,000.
According to the pricelists of their importers, a Fiat 500e starts from €26,500 and a Volkswagen ID.3 which is also considered to be in the compact category but roomier, starts from €34,500. Medium sized ones such as the Hyundai Kona start from €33,900. The Nissan Leaf’s starting price is €34,500. The Mercedes Benz EQC (N293) which is branded as a ‘luxury SUV’, starts from €67,000. The Audi e-tron can be found from €78,000.
As regards PHEVs, a Renault Captur starts from €28,000, the Jeep Renegade from €36,900 and the Toyota Rav4 from €50,200. Prices vary of course, depending on size, model, battery range and other features.
Though electric vehicles cost more, there are cost benefits in the long run, according to Dickran Ouzounian, managing director of Toyota Cyprus and member of the Motor Vehicles Importers Association.
He said it currently costs around €15 to charge a vehicle for a 450-kilometre range since electricity prices in Cyprus are high and there is no off-peak charging rate as in other countries. Conventional cars, however, might need between €25 and €30 in fuel for the same distance, he said.
He also referred to low cost of ownership since electric vehicles don’t have an engine like conventional ones that require service and repairs.
“Manufacturers started from bigger cars, that are inevitably more expensive because their range is bigger,” Ouzounian told the Sunday Mail, explaining they have bigger batteries.
Owners of electric vehicles do, however, have a large cost for end of life for battery and cars.
“Batteries are very harmful to the environment and need to be recycled properly,” he said, adding that they can be recycled for reuse in vehicles or for use in other industries.
Addressing concerns about battery life, he said all manufacturers offer good warranty of up to seven to eight years, while Toyota offers up to 10 on theirs.
“But they rarely ever break down,” Ouzounian said.
“We have been selling hybrid cars for the past 25 years, they are the most trustworthy cars.”
Ouzounian said the hybrid technology is a very good option as vehicles run on electric mode for a substantial amount of time and are more affordable than electric ones. He admitted, however, that plug-in hybrid cars are more expensive because they have two power trains: conventional engine and batteries.
He said that the plug-in hybrid technology, which is the next stage of the hybrid technology, allows people to have an electric car “without any compromises”.
It has a conventional engine and bigger electric batteries than hybrid cars, he said. Vehicles operate up to 70 to 80 kilometres on electric mode and when the battery runs out, it switches to the hybrid mode with low emissions. “When you go home you can charge it again,” he said.
Ouzounian has observed a shift in people’s preferences as more consumers prefer to buy a hybrid car. He said 75 per cent of the vehicles they sell at the dealership are hybrid.
“It means people are beginning to realise the benefits,” he said.
All well and good for hybrid cars, but for full electric cars the lack of charging stations is a major issue, most especially in remote areas.
“I think they are putting the cart before the horse,” Rosie Charalambous, the Cyprus Mail’s motoring correspondent said.
For many people to take up electric cars, she said, the necessary infrastructure to support it is necessary.
“We lack charging stations all over the island,” she said, adding that it was important to install them on motorways and several areas in all districts.
Ouzounian agrees, saying Cyprus is still “an immature market” on this issue.
“People thinking of buying electric vehicles need to know their needs,” he said. They must think about their lifestyle and possibly make changes as regards travel if they are used to taking road trips to remote areas under present circumstances.
“You need to plan your journey and keep in mind that an electric car’s range depends on its use, on weather conditions, if the air conditioning system works to the full for example, how many passengers it carries,” he said. He said these are variables that drain the battery and shorten its range.
Currently, there are just 28 charging stations in public areas, installed by the electricity authority (EAC).
“We have another four under construction, and they are expected to be up and running soon,” Demetris Nathanael of the EAC said. The EAC plans to start procedures to install another 10 next year.
The transport ministry has announced that it plans on installing around 1,000 charging stations by 2026 outside public buildings, private businesses, hospitals, local authorities and 40 fast-charging stations on motorways and public spaces.
But even when the charging issue gets sorted, there remains one massive hurdle in Cyprus’ fight to reduce emissions from vehicles. How environmentally friendly can electric cars be when so much of our electricity is still produced by mazut or heavy fuel oil?
“We are gradually trying to change this tendency,” a spokesperson with the energy ministry told the Sunday Mail. The ministry, she said, is working towards the transition to green energy.
First, the ministry is working on a scheme for subsidising owners of electric and PHEVs to install a photovoltaic system and a wall outlet for charging their vehicles at home. This will run in tandem with the transport ministry’s scheme to purchase the vehicles. Eligible will be those who already own one or will get one through the upcoming transport ministry’s scheme.
According to data by the energy ministry, the contribution of renewable sources (RES) to the total energy consumption this year has reached 17 per cent, which has exceeded by 30 per cent the initial goal of 13 per cent for 2021. The ministry also recorded a 113 per cent increase in the RES for energy consumption compared with 2014.
But what lies ahead?
Diesel and petrol cars are obviously on their way out.
“Hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric cars are here to stay for at least 10 to 15 years,” Ouzounian said. After that, he said hydrogen vehicles that emit water will start to rise in the market.
Some companies have already started to introduce hydrogen cars, though their widespread use in Cyprus and elsewhere would require a massive fuelling infrastructure, he added.
“The future is hydrogen,” Ouzounian said.
Car crashes and other related road deaths have claimed the lives of 39 people so far this year, as Cyprus appears to be stuck at about 50 such deaths a year – despite major progress being made in reducing serious injuries.
The death of a 50-year-old man on Wednesday draws 2021 closer to the 48 deaths in 2020.
The deaths in 2020 – despite long stretches spent in lockdown – have puzzled experts who are concerned that the progress made since 2008 has stalled.
Indeed, 2008 was a “black year” as 82 deaths were recorded, with fatalities steadily dropping ever since.
But there is still a chance, however hopeful, that 2021 could equal 2013 when ‘just’ 43 people died on the road.
There are concerns however that the Christmas and New Year’s Eve period will add to the tally in 2021 as it is a typically dangerous period, with increased levels of speeding and drunk driving.
Indeed, 2008 was a “black year” as 82 deaths were recorded, with fatalities steadily dropping ever since.
Some have put that down to improvements in car technology (safer and sturdier designs dislodging older models) while improvements in road designs have also played their part.
Others have offered that deaths remained high despite the lockdown measures as the roads were relatively empty, leading to complacency such as running red lights and excessive speeding.
But with a 95 per cent car use amongst the population, experts are concerned that Cyprus saw one of the lowest decreases in road deaths during 2020 – with just an eight per cent reduction as 52 deaths were recorded in 2019. Notably, however, there was a 20 per cent reduction from the 73 road deaths in 2010.
But on a positive note, serious injuries sustained in such crashed have fallen dramatically – from a high of 661 in 2008 to 211 in 2020. As many have noted, the deaths typically garner headlines while serious injuries which may forever alter a person’s life often go under the radar.
But not all crashes are equal, as in the past 12 years there have been 729 road deaths with the vast majority being men, at 78 per cent.
According to data compiled by the police, alcohol was determined to be the cause of the crashes in 26 per cent of cases, while ‘careless driving’ was at 22 per cent. Drugs were at six per cent as were careless right hand turns. Notably, speeding was at 12 per cent.
Car drivers and passengers accounted for 323 of the deaths, with 60 per cent not wearing a seatbelt.
The cabinet on Monday approved legislation regulating the use of scooters or e-scooters, including minimum specifications and safety measures.
The bills were prepared by the transport ministry in a bid to ensure road safety, as the use of such vehicles appears to be on the rise.
According to the bills, a scooter is any self-propelled device using any form of energy, which can carry a seated or standing person. The device has handlebars, a drive shaft, and at least two wheels.
Anything that does not conform with the legal definition regarding personal mobility devices, such as hoverboards and skates, will be prohibited from use on public areas/roads.
Scooters can be used in bicycle road or lanes, or any other area that constitutes an extension of a bicycle road – common space used by cyclists and pedestrians.
They can also use pavements or squares provided the local authority has permitted their use in such areas.
Users must be 16 and above. Protective helmets are mandatory.
Rental scooters must carry insurance coverage for third parties.
The minimum equipment scooters must have are brakes, lights – rear and front – tyres and a bell.
Their maximum speed should not exceed 15km/hour. The ministry warned consumers must be careful regarding their choice of scooter if they want to use them in public areas after the law comes into force.
The bills also introduce obligations for importers, manufacturers and sellers as regards minimum equipment and maximum speed.
Rental companies will be licenced by local authorities.
The bills also introduce offences and penalties though no details were immediately available.
Authorities will install signs warning motorists of the presence of traffic cameras and speed limits, according to an announcement issued on Monday.
This was decided during a meeting between the transport, justice and innovation ministers, the chief of police, and other involved parties.
The signs will be installed to warn drivers of fixed and mobile cameras, but also the legal speed limits in the areas of their operation.
The meeting also stressed the need to inform the public properly on how the system operates.
The system includes 90 fixed cameras in 30 locations around the island to cover black spots on the road network, as well as 20 mobile cameras which police will determine their location and operating hours daily.
Cameras will be installed in two phases: The first phase will include the installation and operation of another 16 mobile cameras and another 20 fixed ones; the second phase will include the installation of the remaining 66 fixed cameras.
Phase one should be up and running by July 2022 and phase three by June 2023. The contractor will maintain and operate the system for five years under the supervision of the police.
The system is currently operating on a pilot basis, with a number of cameras installed in busy junctions while mobile units are used where necessary.
No fines will be issued during this period with offenders however, receiving warnings.
Four electronic signs that will be placed in highways will guide the drivers regarding the time needed for the trip, possible queues, accidents, and so forth.
Then in the coming eight months another 20 signs will be placed. At a fist stage the main road network of Nicosia will be covered. The relevant agreement provides for the installation of 21 cameras monitoring road network and 14 traffic counters.
Transport Minister Giannis Karousos said that the target is to increase security, the immediate response to any incident, and the information of drivers in order to make the correct choices about the route they will follow.
The full coverage of Cyprus’s network will be achieved in the next three years and will be financed by the Resilience and Recovery Fund.
Amid warnings from officials that at the current rates of violations being recorded by newly installed traffic cameras many drivers will end up losing their licences, police on Tuesday issued a Q&A on the system to help acclimatise drivers with the new state of affairs.
Q: Why were the cameras installed
The aim of the new traffic camera system is the reduction of serious and fatal road collisions.
It also focuses on changing drivers’ behaviour and adherence to the traffic code.
Q: When will the cameras be installed and operate?
Four fixed and four mobile cameras will be installed for the pilot phase. The pilot phase will last until December 31, during which period only warnings will be sent. After that, another 16 mobile and another 20 fixed cameras will be installed. Another 66 fixed cameras will be installed after that, within 12 months from the delivery of phase one.
Q: How many cameras will be installed in total?
Ninety fixed cameras will be installed at 30 locations and there will be another 20 mobile cameras on tripods either in or outside vehicles.
Q: Will drivers know if there are cameras?
There will be a warning sign before the location of a mobile or fixed camera informing drivers.
Q: What is the speed limit for every road?
The speed limit is:
50kph in residential areas or where so signposted
65kph where signposted
80kph on faster circulation roads or where signposted.
100kph on the motorway
Q: How many cameras will operate as of October 25?
As of October 25, 2021, there will be four fixed traffic lights in operation on the junction of Demosthenis Severis and Grivas Dighenis in Nicosia. In addition, there will be four mobile cameras in operation throughout Cyprus and these will be installed in residential areas, the secondary road network and motorways.
Q: When will bookings start?
From January 1, 2022
Q: What violations will the cameras record?
The violations to be recorded by the traffic cameras are:
- Jumping a red light,
- Violating the compulsory stop line at junctions monitored by traffic cameras
Q: Will other violations also be recorded?
Yes, when the system identifies any of the violations below, these will be recorded:
- Not wearing a seat belt
- Motorcyclists not wearing a helmet.
- Driving without free hands (mobile phone or other object)
Q: When a vehicle is within the controlled junction on a green light and then the vehicle moves to the right, will this be recorded as a violation when the red light goes on?
Q: Will there be a flash so that I know that I have committed a violation?
When there is a violation, a flash will go on (red or white) and this may or may not be noticed.
Q: Will violations be booked during the pilot phase?
Up to December 31 warning letters will be sent but no fines.
Q: How were the locations for the cameras chosen?
After a study, some locations emerged as ‘black’ dangerous spots where fatal or serious traffic collisions occur, and these were selected to install the cameras.
Q: How will a driver found to be in violation be informed?
When a violation is recorded, a registered out-of-court fine will be sent by post to the owner of the vehicle. If the owner cannot be found, the fine will be delivered by an authorised bailiff or by police.
If the owner of the vehicle was not the driver, they must inform police who the driver was within 15 days.
The owner must complete and submit to the contractor company part B of the out-of-court fine, with the full details of the driver. If the driver accepts, they must pay the fine.
Q: How long is given for the fine to be paid?
The fine must be paid within 30 days, otherwise the sum will increase by half, and it can be paid within 45 days.
After the 45 days, the case will refered to court.
Payment of the fine will mean that the penalty points cited on the notification have been accepted.
The fine can be paid online on the police website www.police.gov.cy or through a payments provider selected by the Republic (JCC).
Q: Can the fine be paid in instalments?
Q: Can there be an extension to pay the fine?
No. The law does not provide for extensions for payment.
Q: Are there violations for which an out-of-court fine will not be issued, and the driver will have to appear in court?
(a) The penalty points exceed the limit
(b) The speed is more than 75 per cent over the permitted limit
(c) The driver does not have a driver’s licence or has been stripped of the right to hold or to acquire a licence
(d) The driver’s licence does not match that required to drive the specific vehicle they were spotted driving
Q: What happens when the driver cannot be located by the post office?
If the driver cannot be found by the post office to take delivery of the registered letter (form F276F), then this is returned to the contracting company and the company’s bailiff will make two efforts to find the driver and hand over the fine.
If again the driver cannot be found, police will try to do so.
Q: Will the owner have access to the company’s website
The owner can have access to the webpage (www.CyCameraSystem.com) so as to see the photo of their vehicle and the driver committing the traffic violation at the time of the violation, as well as other information that concern the violation.
For further information, the public can telephone 80008009.