Want Govt To Pay For Half Of Your Electric Car? Try Estonia

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2011 Nissan Leaf

2011 Nissan Leaf

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Some electric-car makers (they know who they are) tend to quote base prices after subtracting the U.S. Federal income tax credit of $7,500.

We don't do that here, but that practice would be even more tempting in Estonia--which gives a whopping $22,900 (18,000-euro) incentive on every electric car sold in the small Baltic republic.

It may not go quite as far as you might expect, since in Estonia, a new Nissan Leaf costs $50,900 (39,990) versus its U.S. base price of $35,200.

Further distorting the comparison, the Estonian price includes value-added tax, whereas the U.S. price is quoted before state and local sales taxes. 

Still, the Estonian credit--which is limited to a maximum of 50 percent of the vehicle price or 18,000, whichever is lower--cuts 45 percent off the price of that Leaf.

That's a good deal, and one we suspect many U.S. electric-car buyers would love to have--whether for the Leaf or any other zero-emission battery-electric vehicle.

Nissan Leaf €18,000 incentive shown on Nissan website for Estonia

Nissan Leaf €18,000 incentive shown on Nissan website for Estonia

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News on the Estonian incentive comes courtesy of the Spanish-language site forococheselectricos.com, which covers electric-car topics across a broad spectrum.

The site notes that the credit also applies to the electric Peugeot iOn, which is a relabeled Mitsubishi i-MiEV (sold in the U.S. as the Mitsubishi 'i'), giving that car a price of just $21,600 (17,000) after the incentive.

Even better, it suggests, the eagerly anticipated Renault Zoe electric coupe--not yet released--would cost only $12,700 (10,000) after the maximum incentiv of half the purchase price.

While the Zoe hasn't yet arrived, the streets of Tallinn, the Estonian capital, apparently have a number of electric cars on them--including roughly 500 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs acquired to offset carbon-emission fines for the country.


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Comments (5)
  1. I see that Estonia is the least populous and wealthiest of the former Russian satellite countries. It's also tiny. Really tiny.
    From anyplace to anyplace is never more than 150 miles, making it seemingly ideal for short ranged EVs. Thus the question: if this country is so ideal for early EV adoption, why does the govt need to subsidize electric cars so heavily? Are they really that unpopular amongst the Estonian car buyers?

  2. Part of it may be that salaries in Estonia are pretty pathetic! A typical Masters degree qualified, 30 year old govt worker gets €1000 month!! There is a lot of interest in EV,s here but gas prices are still average, even Diesels are not that common yet, although the harsh Winters are partly to blame for that.

    Estonians like their cars and take pride in driving them, I dont think EV's have the same status as a 5 year old BMW/Audi here.

    They had trouble giving away the some of the 500 Imevs they bought! They were allocated to Govt workers but many didnt want them.


  3. These electric cars incentive are subsidized by carbon-emission trading money. There is a lot of interest in EV`s, but there is a small choice of available vehicles. Only 36000€ (18 000€ after incentive) iMiev and Citroen, Peugeot analogs. Last month Nissan started selling Leaf in Estonia 39 990€ (21 990€ after incentive) and they expect sell 100 leafs by end of the year.

    Also ABB started construction of full nationwide fast charging network in Estonia and charging network should be completed by October 2012.

    Mitsubishi is expected to lower prices and construction of infrastructure, we hope to see better sales numbers in the second half of the year.

  4. Norway is another country with a lot of incentives to impulse the adoption of electric cars: http://elfuturoeselectrico.blogspot.com.es/2012/04/noruega-el-modelo-seguir.html

  5. Electric cars are not yet ready for driving, at least the ones we have in Estonia. There's a lot of problems with them. But it's getting better every day and that's why the govt helps in.
    If you're interested more about this topic then visit the Estonian Electrical Mobility Programme web page www.elmo.ee

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