Brussels, 20 November 2013
State aid: Commission approves investment aid for purchase of electric vehicles in Amsterdam
The European Commission has found that €8.61 million of public funding that The Netherlands intend to grant for a green transportation scheme supporting the use of electric vehicles in the city of Amsterdam is in line with EU state aid rules. The scheme will further EU objectives by decreasing the number of conventional vehicles emitting CO2 and improving the air quality of the city, without unduly distorting competition in the internal market.
Aid under the Amsterdam green transportation scheme will be granted to purchasers or financial lessees of electric vehicles and will cover the additional expenditure incurred when purchasing an electric vehicle (personal car, light commercial vehicle and truck) rather than a conventional, petrol- or diesel-driven one. It will be in force until 31 December 2015. All entities whose vehicles are used to carry out business activities within the boundaries of the municipality of Amsterdam can apply for aid under the scheme.
The scheme does not discriminate between car manufacturers since applications are assessed independently of the brand or model of the cars. Moreover, the Municipality of Amsterdam sets a yearly subsidy quota for each category of vehicle. Once a category's quota is reached, no more aid will be granted for purchases in that category for the year in question. This avoids that the subsidies mainly benefit certain types of vehicles. Therefore, in addition to the scheme's limited budget, duration and geographical scope, the possible indirect benefits for manufacturers or distributors of electric cars would cause only very limited distortions of competition.
Reducing CO2 emissions from cars is one of the objectives of EU environmental policy. Since it promotes the use of electric cars, the scheme clearly contributes to that objective.
The Commission therefore concluded that the scheme was in line with the EU guidelines on state aid for environmental protection.
The scheme also allocates a total budget of €500 000 for the construction of electric vehicle charging installations in the city of Amsterdam. Electric car owners and other applicants (typically supermarkets, department stores, fast-food restaurants, cinemas etc.) can receive such subsidies to install charging posts in their business areas. The aid beneficiaries are not allowed to charge vehicle owners for providing battery charging services and the maximum aid per beneficiary is €65 000. The Commission therefore concluded that this part of the scheme does not involve state aid in the meaning of the EU rules, because its scale is too small to affect the patterns of trade in the EU internal market.
The non-confidential version of the decision will be made available under the case number SA.34719 in the State Aid Register on the DG Competition website once any confidentiality issues have been resolved. New publications of state aid decisions on the internet and in the Official Journal are listed in the State Aid Weekly e-News.