Electric vehicle regulation and law in Romania

Romania is increasingly interested in EV development. As part of its strategy to improve the quality of the environment, Romania plans to renew the national car fleet by offering substantial grants for the purchase of EVs.

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

In the first quarter of 2017, 33 EVs and hybrid vehicles were registered in Romania 1
. The number of registered EVs and hybrid vehicles increased with 106.3% compared to the same quarter of 2016 when only 16 EVs and hybrid vehicles were registered.
The number of EVs increased significantly in 2017 as a result of Rabla Plus, a governmental programme that offers grants for the purchase of EVs. Although, only 33 EVs and hybrid vehicles were registered in Romania in the first quarter of 2017, the programme Rabla Plus succeeded to increase the number of EVs purchased in Romania, in 2017, to almost 500 EVs.
EV and hybrid vehicles represented 2% of the total sales of vehicles in the first 11 months of 2017 – double the share recorded in 2016 – according to statistics from the Automotive Manufacturers and Importers Association (APIA). 

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

Romania’s Emergency Ordinance no.40 of 20 April 2011 (the “Ordinance”) transposed Directive 2009/33/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles. The Ordinance regulates the general obligation to promote clean energy by also promoting the market of non-polluting and energy-efficient vehicles.

Another legislative measure to encourage EVs is Law no. 34/2017 (the “Law”) on the deployment of alternative fuels infrastructure (it transposes Directive 2014/94/EU). The Law establishes a common framework of measures for deploying an alternative fuels infrastructure. The aim is to minimise dependence on oil and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport. It sets out minimum requirements for developing the alternative fuels infrastructure, including recharging points for electric vehicles and refuelling points for natural gas (LNG and CNG) and hydrogen.
Order no. 660/2017 of the Ministry of Environment introduced the Rabla Plus programme that offers grants of up to EUR 10,000 to qualifying applicants. The grant covers up to 50% of the EV purchase price, whilst the other 50% is born by the applicants. The programme aims to grow the number of EVs and hybrid vehicles in Romania in order to reduce the carbon emissions and to mitigate the environmental impact of transport.

3. What measures promote EVs in your jurisdiction?

To promote the purchase of EV, the Romanian Government offers benefits including:

  • EV purchase grants – The Romanian EVs market is constantly growing. Between May and December 2017, the Rabla Plus programme 2
     approved grants for the purchase of 500 electric cars and hybrid plug-ins.
  • Tax benefits – Exemptions from the annual circulation tax (ownership tax). 3
  • Charging points – There are 130 charging points across the country and there are ongoing plans to develop more at the initiative of both private and public actors.
  • Low cost energy – The cost of charging EVs is very low compared to refuelling traditional vehicles. There are also private initiatives which offer free of charge energy for the EVs at their charging points. 4 For example, Rompetrol opened in March 2017 its first gas station with charging points for EV offering energy free of charge. In addition, the big retainer Kaufland opened in collaboration with Renovatio a chain of charging points offering energy free of charge for one year.

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 Government – approved grants through the Rabla Plus programme for the purchase of electric cars and hybrid plug-ins. The Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy are the competent authorities involved in this programme.
  • The local authorities – are also involved in the deployment of EVs. For example, the Municipal Company of Energy was set up in Bucharest –which aims to build 40 charging points in the city by spring 2018.
  • Electricity market participants – electricity generators, suppliers and distributors.
  • Charging station developers – existing developers of the new charging infrastructure.

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?

While the EV field is starting to be strongly encouraged in Romania, there are still some obstacles to EV ownership, including:

Charging infrastructure: Romania has only 16 public charging points of 50kW capacity. The country has a total of 130 charging points 7
 including further 22kW public charging points.

Picture of Ramona Dulamea
Ramona Dulamea
Senior Associate
Mrs Daniela Popescu