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Upcoming changes to the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels

As can be seen from the legislative process, on 2 December 2021, the Act on amending the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels and certain other act (hereinafter: the Amendment) was enacted.

It is worth noting first of all that the Amendment is aimed at implementation of EU law, namely transposition into Polish law of directives of the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union on the promotion of clean and energy-efficient road transport vehicles No. 2009/33/EC, on common rules for the internal market in electricity No. 2019/944 or on the energy performance of buildings No. 2010/31/EU and energy efficiency No. 2012/27/EU.

As we read in the Explanatory Memorandum of the Amendment: ‘The proposed amendment aims to:

  1. meet social expectations and adapt to the increasingly rapid development of the automotive industry;
  2. provide even better support for the development of electromobility and alternative fuel infrastructure, and thus encourage consumers to purchase vehicles powered by these fuels;
  3. adjust the regulations in force to the assumptions included in the ‘Ten for electromobility’ announced by the Minister of Climate and Environment.’

Do the proposed changes really have a chance to reform the current actions of citizens and consumers as regards the purchase of electromobility vehicles and, at the same time, do they have a change to translate into effective development of ecological and more alternative motorization?

What changes await us?

The most important solutions quoted in the Amendment should be singled out, incl. i.a. clarification of the principles of establishing clean transport zones, regulation of charging stations and regulation of additional legal provisions concerning the installation of energy points in multi-family buildings.

Clean transport zones

The Amendment, referring to the establishment of clean transport zones, indicates that the objective is mainly to reduce the negative effects of transport emissions on human health and the environment. Therefore, the so-called clean transport zones are established on the territory of communes, which incl. roads and at the same time prohibit the entry of motor vehicles of specific areas. The exceptions, however, are electric cars, hydrogen-powered cars, cars powered by natural gas or those excluded on the basis of a resolution of a Municipal Council. It is worth emphasizing that the ban does not apply to e.g. police vehicles, sanitary transport vehicles, or school and low-emissions buses.

It is also important to specify the rules of creating clean transport zones in communes. After the changes – it should be possible to establish such zones regardless of the number of inhabitants. It is worth emphasizing that a great deal of freedom in defining most regulations in this area has been left on the communes, which have the right to shape, i.e. the fees for entering the clean transport zone (however, not higher than PLN 2.50 per hour in the case of a one-off fee and not higher than PLN 500 in the case of a subscription fee for one month), subject and object exclusions or defining such an area.

Installation of energy points in multi-family buildings

So far, the installation of energy points in multi-family buildings has raised concerns due to the complicated nature of the procedure and the lengthy approval process. This time, Article 12b of the Amendment clearly defines a number of procedures for the establishment of such a points. As we read in the proposed regulations, in case of multi-family residential buildings, in case of multi-family residential buildings (where the number of dwellings is greater than 3), a charging point can be installed after obtaining permission from the community or cooperative board. In addition, it is emphasized that the housing community has the right to give permission for the installation of charging point with a capacity of less than 11 kW with only ordinary management.

Additionally, the deadline for issuing the consent has also been specified – within 30 days from the date of receiving the expert opinion and in the event that no expert opinion was required – 30 days from the date of filing the application.

Undoubtedly, the Amendment simplifies the current procedures of planning and designing energy consumption points and, at the same time, by virtue of the provisions of the Amendment, appropriate connection power is to be ensured for the buildings concerned. Moreover, the procedure for obtaining permission to install charging points at car parks in communities or cooperatives may be significantly simplified.

Bearing in mind the above proposed changes, the simplifications offered have a change to translate into greater interest among citizens is owning an electric car due to the possibility of setting up a charging station at their place of residence. However, that in order to actually achieve positive environmental effects through promotion of low-emissions (incl. development of the automotive industry in this area), such actions must be continuously promoted by the government. The proposed simplification of certain processes, incl. the possibility of installing charging stations at one’s place of residence, as well as the possibility of creating energy points only by ordinary management up to certain power are extremely important from the point view of residents who already have electric cars. However, it should be taken into account that in this regards, it is necessary both to promote such actions, as well as to educate on the benefits that may arise from the so-called ‘clean transport zones’, because only such actions can convince citizens that the actions taken actually serve to improve the health of residents, as well as the environment itself.