Electric vehicle regulation and law in Portugal

EVs currently represent a small proportion of the total vehicles licensed in Portugal, but this is changing. EV sales increased significantly in 2017, mostly due to financial incentives, the expansion of charging points and environmental concerns which have led to global investment in the sector. However, Portugal still has a long way to go.

1. What EVs have been deployed in your jurisdiction to date?

The chart below shows the small proportion of EVs among total vehicles in Portugal. The figures are taken from information provided by the Portuguese authorities 1
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(published in 2016 and based on 2015 data).

Categories

Electric and hybrid vehicles

Total vehicles

Share of electric and hybrid vehicles in the total of vehicles (%)

Passenger cars

25,386

4,722,963

0.5%

Heavy vehicles – passenger

99

14,717 

0.6%

Light goods vehicles

188

 1,224,821

0.01%

Heavy goods vehicles

17 

88,398

0.01%

Despite the small proportion of EVs, sales are increasing. It is estimated that 2016 sales of EVs in Portugal reached more than 1,000 – double the 2015 number.

2. Is there any specific legislation for/regulation of EVs in your jurisdiction?

In line with EU policy, since 2009 the Portuguese government has taken several legislative steps to create, implement, develop and execute an electric mobility programme.

Two key measures govern the sector:

  • Resolution of Council of Ministers no. 20/2009 of 20 February – created the Programme for Electric Mobility
  • Resolution of Council of Ministers no. 81/2009 of 7 September – established the principles of the programme and approved the model and development stages.

Under this legal framework, the Decree-Law no. 39/2010 of 26 April (amended by Law no. 64-B/2011 of 30 December, Decree-Law no.170/2012, of 1 August and by Decree-Law no. 90/2014, of 11 June) approved the terms of the electric mobility programme – in particular its organisation, access and exercise of electric mobility activities – and the standards of an electric mobility network.

Among other provisions, the Decree-Law establishes:

  • the main principles applicable to the exercise of electric mobility activities, chiefly the principle of universal and equal access to services.
  • the standards applicable to operating electric charging points and the grounds for issuing licences (valid for ten years) by Directorate General of Energy and Geology (DGEG – Direcção-Geral da Energia e Geologia).
  • the provisions applicable to the supply of electricity for electric mobility, which can be only held by operators of electric charging points, duly licensed and registered to operate in the whole national territory.
  • the responsibilities of the managing entity of the electric mobility network.
  • the creation of an entity – the Office for Electric Mobility in Portugal (Gabinete para a Mobilidade Eléctrica em Portugal) – responsible for the preparation and implementation of the Programme for Electric Mobility.

Regulation no. 879/2015, approved by the Regulatory Authority (ERSE – Entidade Reguladora dos Serviços Energéticos) is also important. It establishes the legal framework applicable to the relationships between the electric mobility sector, the electricity sector and the protection of rights and interests of the users of EVs. It covers prices, service quality and information. The Regulation also sets out the methods for the tariffs to be applied by the managing entity of the electric mobility network.

In addition to the main legislative frameworks, various Ministry Orders cover complementary regulatory aspects. These include: requirements for implementing infrastructure and equipment (Ministry Order no. 221/2016); technical rules for charging installations of EVs in buildings and other urban facilities with parking areas (Ministry Order no. 220/2016); the terms governing licences for private use of the public domain for the installation of electric charging points for EVs in public places (Ministry Order no. 222/2016); the technical requirements for issuing a licence to operate EV charging points (Ministry Order no. 241/2015); and the fees that apply to electricity supply licences for electric mobility (Ministry Order no. 240/2015).

Several new political options for the sector were defined recently in the Great Plan Options (Grandes Opções do Plano), as approved by Law no. 113/2017 of 29 December. These new options include the opening of the market of supply for electric mobility.

3. What measures promote EVs in your jurisdiction?

In recent years the Portuguese government has supplemented the legislative framework by approving additional measures.

A major financial incentive – a total amount of EUR 2,659,000 – is now in place for the acquisition of electric vehicles in 2018. The Government approved the incentive through the Environmental Ministry in the context of the Environmental Fund created in 2016. (Order no. 1607/2018 in line with Ministry Order no. 468/2010 of 7 July.)

Tax incentives for EVs include exemption from the tax paid for the acquisition of a vehicle, and a reduction in the payment of circulation tax. Companies which have EVs are exempt from autonomous tax and benefit from a reduction in value added tax.

Under Decree-Law no. 140/2010 of 29 December, the Portuguese Government also promoted the obligation on public and government entities to acquire electric vehicles.

4. Who are the main entities (e.g. developers, government, System Operator) and what are their roles in the deployment of EVs in your jurisdiction?

The main Portuguese stakeholders in EVs are:

  • ERSE – responsible for regulation within the electricity and natural gas sectors. It supervises and assures compliance with applicable law, especially Regulation no. 879/2015.
  • EGME – managing entity of electric mobility (Entidade Gestora da Mobilidade Eléctrica) – incorporated under Decree-Law no. 39/2010 of April 26 with the subsequent amendments, this entity manages and monitors the electric mobility network in terms of the energy, information and financial flows necessary for its operation. EGME is responsible for developing and providing adequate information, communication and service systems and ensuring the fulfillment of the obligations and rights of operators of charging points and registration holders for electric mobility. MOBI.E. a public company, carries out these activities on behalf of EGME.
  • DGEG – a public administration entity whose mission is to contribute to the design, promotion and evaluation of policies on energy and geological resources, with a view to sustainable development and security of supply. DGEG is responsible for issuing operating licenses for EV charging points and for the registration of electricity sales for electric mobility.
  • UVE – Users of Electric Vehicles (Utilizadores de Veículos Elétricos), is a non-profit organisation with the mission of promoting electric mobility. It was created to represent the community of owners, users and supporters of EVs and plug-in hybrids in Portugal. UVE aims to boost electric mobility through the promotion of sales of electric vehicles in Portugal.

5. What are the main challenges to further deployment of EVs in your jurisdiction? How have EV developers sought to overcome these challenges to date?

Portuguese consumers face several challenges requiring Government and stakeholder intervention, including:

  • lack of fast charging stations (there are only 51 fast charging stations in Portugal)
  • extension to other electric road vehicles (e.g. electric bicycles and heavy goods vehicles)
  • better integration of renewable energies
  • high EV acquisition prices (incentives such as those mentioned above are required to lower the price of acquisition)
  • better access to private access charging network in homes and office areas
  • increased financial incentives and not just tax incentives (e.g. free parking for EVs in regulated areas, as available in Lisbon)
  • more non-financial incentives (e.g. exclusive car parks for EVs and use of EVs on roads dedicated to public transport).
Picture of Monica Pacheco
Mónica Carneiro Pacheco
Partner
Lisbon
Picture of Bernardo Cunha Ferreira
Bernardo Cunha Ferreira
Associate
Lisbon