Argentina to boost electric vehicles imports

In order to welcome environmentally-friendly technology, improve individual and public vehicle transportation, and catch-up to the scenario lived in other countries, and even within the region, the Argentinian government is planning to significantly reduce taxes on electric vehicle imports, according to a report published by newspaper La Nación.

The measure, which was announced by President Mauricio Macri, will be implemented as of June 9 and will only benefit companies that produce the vehicles domestically, excluding those that are merely net importers.

Official sources in the industry told the newspaper that the current 35 percent tax paid by the companies to bring these units will be reduced to 2 percent for electric vehicles and 5 percent for hybrids. Imports tariff quotas will be limited to 6000 units in three years, with a possibility for extensions, depending on the market’s response.

This industry is practically non-existent in Argentina. Toyota was the first, bringing its Prius model in late 2009, and has sold 270 units so far. The Prius – a hybrid vehicle powered by electricity at low speeds, changing to petrol at higher speeds, and charging the battery with kinetic energy – currently costs $62,000. In Japan, the United States or Europe, that type of midsized sedan can cost around $25,000-30,000. Renault recently announced it will bring its electric Kangoo at the end of the year. The Nissan Leaf is also expected to arrive. There are not many more options in the country when it comes to electric or hybrid vehicles, except for the Touareg, and the Porsche Cayenne, which is difficult to find.

“There is a lack of environmental awareness in the country. Argentinians like cars, but these ones are still too expensive (the most expensive part is the lithium battery). Without concrete incentives, it will be a very slow build,” a source in the industry said. In Brazil, for example, these cars pay lower taxes; In Madrid, there are parking advantages (as well as in The Netherlands); In Valencia, there are purchase subsidies; the U.S. has promotion programs; and in France, there is a €5,000 purchase subsidy, similar to the measure implemented in England.

Beyond the price, there are deeper problems for this market in Argentina, infrastructure problems. This is why state-owned company YPF announced it will begin the first phase to installing over 200 recharging stations for electric vehicles in services stations around the country.

This regulation will include only manufactures based in Argentina, like Agrale, FCA (Fiat and Chrysler), Ford, General Motors (Chevrolet), Honda, Iveco, Mercedez-Benz, Nissan, PSA (Peugeot, Citroën, and DS), Ralitor (JMC, DFM, Foton, Baic, andKandi), Renault, Scania, Toyota (including the Lexus), Volkswagen (including Audi and Seat), and Zanell.

“There are no concrete plans to bring the Lexus,” Toyota told the newspaper, “but we will organize a presentation at the next auto show to evaluate the market’s response and analyze a possible future launch accordingly,” the source added.

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