Electric cars in Armenia and 4 reasons to drive them
Over the past 2.5 years, the number of electric cars in Armenia has increased significantly. In 2018, only 12 electric cars were imported, but in 2021 there were already 5,200 of them.
What amenities have been created for drivers of electric vehicles in recent years, what else needs to be done to maintain people’s interest in these cars, and 4 reasons why you should change behind the wheel of an electric car- find out below.
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Without customs duties and VAT
The number of electric vehicles has increased, because
- in 2019, the Armenian parliament adopted an amendment to the tax code on the exemption from paying value-added tax when importing electric vehicles into the country,
- in 2020, in the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union, which includes Armenia, the rates of tax duties on the import of passenger cars with an electric engine were zeroed.
Thanks to this, owners of electric vehicles saved 35% of the cost of their car – 20% VAT and 15% customs duties.
These benefits expired on January 1, 2022. But at the end of 2021, the Armenian parliament extended the VAT exemption for another two years. However, so far no information has been received from the EAEU on the extension of the deadline for the abolition of customs duties.
Conveniences for drivers of electric vehicles
- In 2018-2021 About 80 charging stations were installed throughout Armenia within the framework of various programs. 25 of them are installed within the framework of the “Plug.am – Promoting the Use of Electric Vehicles in Armenia” grant program and operate free of charge.
- As part of the Plug.am program, a map of the location of charging stations in Armenia has been developed, which allows drivers to quickly find the nearest one online.
- Benefits for electric vehicles are also provided at the level of local governments. In particular, by the decision of the Yerevan Municipality, owners of electric cars were exempted from paying for city parking in 2021.
- In order to provide quality service for electric vehicles, the specialty “electric vehicle maintenance and repair technician” has been included in the list of public colleges for the 2021-2022 academic year.
Experts expected more
While positively evaluating everything that has already been done, the experts, nevertheless, notice some omissions:
“State benefits, of course, stimulated imports. It is important that the period of validity of the VAT exemption has been extended. Of course, I positively assess this step of the government. However, I can’t say the same about the approaches of local governments”, says Hayk Harutyunyan, co-founder of Ecocars.
He considers the only benefit provided by the Yerevan Municipality (exemption from parking fees) “meager”. As a result of this benefit, the owner of an electric car will save only 12,000 drams (about $25).
Yet there were more expectations from local governments. Experts cite other countries as an example, where owners of electric vehicles are provided with a benefit in the form of exemption from property tax or a reduction in its interest rate, as well as government subsidies. That is, to stimulate buying of electric cars, the state pays a certain percentage of their cost.
All these proposals were submitted half a year ago to the government and the mayor’s office of Yerevan. However, there is no response from government agencies yet.
“In Armenia, the transport tax is levied according to the same principle for all cars – as per the car’s horsepower. And because electric cars are so much more powerful than other cars, their property taxes are higher. As a result, it turns out that the owner of an electric car does not pollute the air, consumes electricity produced in the country instead of fuel, ensures noiseless movement, but the state says: pay as much as they pay for cars that pollute the air and produce noise”, explains Hayk Harutyunyan.
He believes that for the global development of the sphere, the renewal of the Armenian car fleet, the noiseless and harmless movement of cars, additional benefits are needed as they can become a serious incentive.
In parallel with the benefits that were provided by the state, representatives of the private sector initiated the process of increasing electric vehicle service points and retraining specialists in Armenia.
The government thought about training specialists only in 2021, which, according to experts, is a belated step.
“The private sector turned out to be more flexible – specialists were trained, and service points were created. Of course, with the support of the state, it would have been possible to act more harmoniously, to get a greater effect. For example, it was possible to organize trainings at the state level, involve students of certain universities, and train them. Meanwhile, they thought about this not in the first year of providing benefits, but only in 2021”, says Karen Derdzyan, founding director of Chargers, which is engaged in the placement and maintenance of electric filling stations.
Government does not lead by example
Since 2019, at the state level, there have been discussions about a program for the purchase of official electric vehicles. But the government and other state structures still have not started it.
“Unfortunately, the issue of acquiring official electric vehicles is still at the level of conversation. The evidence shows that there is a huge fleet of cars recently purchased for the patrol service, diesel or gas vehicles purchased by the Yerevan Municipality and cars that are purchased for the parliament”, Hayk Harutyunyan, co-founder of Ecocars, says.
He believes that government agencies may be slow to acquire official vehicles due to a lack of knowledge about the field, and offers expert advice to all government agencies and local governments.
Hayk Harutyunyan is sure that the purchase of official electric vehicles for government agencies can become viral for motorists.
“The state was supposed to serve as an example and be a pioneer in this matter”, Karen Derdzyan, founding director of Chargers, agrees with a colleague.
The government agencies may be trying to assess all the risks before purchasing electric cars, but Karen Derdzyan hopes that the first service electric vehicles will appear in 2022.
4 reasons to buy an electric car
- Availability of “fuel” – 10 times cheaper,
- Low operating costs,
- Noiseless driving,
- Reduced air pollution.
According to experts, the operation of a car with an electric motor reduces emissions by an average of 4.6 tons of C02 per year.