In 2019, Colombia published Law 1964, establishing public sector heavy-duty vehicle electrification targets, electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure targets in 15 cities, and various fiscal incentives targeted toward EV owners. In some cities, the law establishes minimum electric vehicle purchase quotas of 30% for public service fleets by 2025. In cities with Mass Transportation Systems, it gradually sets annual electric bus acquisition targets, with the goal of achieving a fully electric urban bus fleet by 2035.
Electrification targets and fiscal incentives
Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development; Ministry of Transportation
Law 1964 of 2019
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs)
In July 2019, Colombia approved its first-ever national electric vehicle EV policy, Law 1964, which cites vehicle electrification as a pathway to achieving sustainable mobility and greenhouse gas reductions in line with the 2015 Paris Accords. The law’s measures encourage light- and heavy-duty EV uptake but only set adoption targets for heavy-duty fleets. Notably, Law 1964 established Latin America’s first minimum purchase goals for public transportation systems.
Passenger vehicles: As a part of its 2021 Voluntary National Review, which seeks to align national policy with 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Colombia aims to register 6,600 electric vehicles by the end of 2022 and 600,000 vehicles by 2030. While these targets have not yet been written into law, Law 1964 creates numerous measures to encourage the uptake of passenger EVs. Among these measures is an amendment to Colombian Law 488 of 1998 which establishes tax rates on private vehicles. Under the new regulation, EVs may not be taxed at a rate above 1% of their commercial value. In comparison, taxes on internal combustion engine (ICE) private vehicles range from 1.5-3.5%, depending on their value, under Law 488. Other purchase incentives include:
- A discount on the price of their vehicle emissions test, considering that electric vehicles emit fewer harmful pollutants
- A discount of 10% on Mandatory Traffic Accident Third-Party Liability Insurance rates
- The creation of preferential parking spaces for electric vehicles. Public entities and commercial establishments that offer public parking spaces will be required to allocate a minimum of 2% of their spaces for the preferential use of EVs
- An exemption from any local policies that restrict vehicle traffic, including pico y placa programs, which limit traffic to vehicles with license plate numbers ending in certain digits during certain hours of the day, and any other restrictions imposed due to environmental concerns
The Law also grants local governments the authority to create incentive schemes for EV adoption, ranging from discounted vehicle registration fees and reduced parking rates to other types of tax exemptions. All of the above purchase incentives apply to both BEVs and PHEVs.
Heavy-duty vehicles: Starting in 2025, cities with Mass Transportation Systems must ensure that a certain percentage of their new vehicle purchases for public transit use are EVs. These percentages increase biannually until a target of 100% electric for new vehicles purchased is met in 2035. Beyond public transit, government agencies in category 1 and special category municipalities must also meet a minimum EV purchase quota of 30% for their fleets by 2025.
Charging Infrastructure: Law 1964 sets minimum EV charging infrastructure requirements, mandating that all Special Category municipalities, excluding Buenaventura and Tumaco, provide at least five fast charging stations and that Bogotá, the nation’s capital, provides twenty by July 2022. Municipalities were allowed to construct charging stations to meet the infrastructure targets through public-private partnerships. Operations may be delegated to the private company as long as the charger is publicly accessible. The law also charges the Ministry of Housing, City, and Territory in coordination with planning authorities in category 1, 2, and 3 municipalities, to develop regulations that mandate the inclusion of charging infrastructure in new residential and commercial buildings.