AMENDMENTS to a 1999 law forbidding electric cars on highways are expected to be discussed by the House plenum in one of its coming sessions.
The matter emerged after Green Party leader Giorgos Perdikis was set to table a bill to amend the existing legislation before the plenum on Friday, only to find that an amendment proposal on the same issue was already submitted in June by Disy MP Demetris Demetriou and Diko MP Giorgos Prokopiou, with protocol dictating that a second proposal cannot be submitted until existing proposals on the matter are discussed.
As such, the law amendment proposal drafted by the two MPs is expected to be on the agenda of the plenum’s coming sessions.
According to the existing legislation, all cars powered solely by electricity (i.e not hybrids) are not allowed on highways where the minimum speed limit is 65km per hour. The law was passed in 1999 when small electric cars that circulated at the time were unable to surpass the minimum speed limit.
The number of electric cars on the island is on the rise, as from a total of just 34 electric cars registered in 2016, the figure rose to 87 in 2017 before rising higher to 135 in 2018. Significantly higher figures are being recorded for hybrid cars, which reached 4,418 in 2017.
Europe as a whole saw a surge of 30 per cent in electric car registrations between 2017 and 2018.
Diesel and petrol cars nevertheless continue to dominate the market, with the expensiveness of electric cars, with prices ranging from €22,000 to as high as €1m, that result from high manufacturing costs appearing to be the main hindering factor for potential buyers.
In Cyprus, means of transportation running on renewable energy sources amount to just 2.6 per cent of the island’s market, a figure EU targets wanted to see rising to 10 per cent by 2020, though prospects appear grim. Ireland, on the other hand, has set the aim to ban all conventional cars by 2030.
Some efforts to promote the use of electric cars have been made by the Electricity Authority of Cyprus (EAC), which installed E-charge stations for electric cars in 20 spots across the island – seven in Nicosia, five in Limassol, two in Larnaca, Paralimni and Paphos while Polis Chrysochous and Platres each have one station.
An EU programme also funded the installation of 12 additional charging stations for electric cars in Cyprus, while EU regulations will also require all parking spaces to provide charging stations as of 2020.
Experiments with electric cars began in the mid of 19th century after people started noticing the pollution from automobiles. Inventors attempted to create rechargeable batteries and introduced electric trams and trains. The first electric car was finally developed in 1890 and could reach 23km per hour but over the years, faded into oblivion until climate concerns began to take hold in recent decades.