Sustainable development, the decarbonisation of the European economy and the use of renewable energy sources are topics that are currently stirring the public sphere in the context of the Green Deal, which is a set of political and economic initiatives by the European Commission with the main objective of making Europe the first carbon-neutral continent in 2050.
The development of clean mobility in the form of alternative fuel vehicles (electricity, hydrogen, CNG) is an integral part of this plan. At the moment, we can say that e-mobility is a trend that has already taken off and the private and public sectors will have to respond to that in the next decade. Compliance with the emission limits set by legislation as well as the social and environmental responsibility of companies and individuals are supporting this trend and contributing to the gradual end of the internal combustion engine cars.
The automotive sector has already reacted. All global manufacturers have announced that they are phasing out or reducing the production of conventional combustion engine cars and expanding their offer of electric cars. While in 2015, there were less than 100 different models of electric cars available globally, last year there were already more than 350, and this number continues to grow.
More than 10 million electric cars were on the road around the world at the end of last year, which is a year-on-year increase of more than 40 percent. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), over 3 million battery-powered vehicles and plug-in hybrids found new owners last year. Bloomberg NEF forecasts that customers will purchase up to 4.4 million electric cars worldwide this year.
E-mobility in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic offers a less optimistic scenario. In 2021, electric cars accounted for only 1.28% of new car registrations, compared to, for example, 13.6% in Germany. In addition to drivers’ concerns about the higher purchase price, operating range or battery life, one of the main reasons why the Czech Republic is lagging behind other EU countries is the fact that there has been a lack of significant state support in the country so far, which should now change. The medium scenario of the Clean Mobility National Action Plan estimates around 220,000 clean electric vehicles on Czech roads by the end of the decade.
In 2021-2027, the Ministry of Industry and Trade expects to support clean mobility to the following extent: the “Technologies and Application for Competitiveness” operational programme will help businesses purchase electric vehicles, LNG trucks and charging stations through a contribution of CZK 1 billion. The Transport operational programme will provide around CZK 6 billion for public charging infrastructure. Another source of funding should be the Modernisation Fund, which is planned to provide CZK 5.4 billion for modernising transport in the business sector and CZK 7.7 billion for modernising public transport. Infrastructure construction and acquisition of alternative-fuel vehicles should also be supported by the National Recovery Plan, which is intended to help recover the Czech economy after the pandemic of COVID-19 with a contribution of CZK 1.3 billion. In total, we are talking about an amount of over CZK 20 billion, which will be used to support clean mobility from public sources in the following years.
The last fund mentioned will distribute money to Czech businesses as early as in the first quarter of this year, when the first call for support for the purchase of electric or hydrogen cars, including the related charging or refuelling infrastructure, can be expected; however, it will only be intended for the applicant’s own use. A total of CZK 1.3 billion will be distributed under this programme, with CZK 1 billion allocated for the purchase of vehicles – cars, commercial vehicles, buses, but also, for example, four-wheelers or electric bicycles for short-distance transport of goods in cities. A further CZK 300 million will be used to acquire the necessary charging or filling points on the company’s premises.
The total subsidy amount will be calculated according to the category of the vehicle being purchased, based on the difference between the price of the alternative fuel vehicle and the price of the internal combustion engine vehicle and the size of the applicant’s business. Small companies with less than 50 employees will receive a 60% subsidy, medium-sized companies with less than 250 employees can apply for a 50% subsidy, and large companies, “mid-caps” (up to 3,000 employees), will receive a 40% subsidy. Companies will be able to apply for the subsidy until August 2022, and they must purchase the vehicles, including charging or filling points, by the end of June 2023.
Subsidy calls from other programmes aimed at promoting clean mobility can be expected in autumn this year.