The Ministerio de Hacienda (Ministry of Finance) decided to extend the deadline for the import of hybrid-electric vehicles by 24 additional months, to be carried out at reduced rates and in some cases without paying taxes.

Car dealers project sales of up to 50% more in electric cars this year. Costa Rica is the third country with the most zero emission vehicles in the region

With the publication of decree 42080-H-MINAE-MOPT  in La Gaceta on Thursday, January 16, 2020, the benefits will be maintained until December 2021.

The decree published today refers to another decree, 33096 of March 14, 2006, which raised the exemptions for hybrid vehicles.

This extension in the validity of the tax benefits applied to imports of this type of units was granted, due to the fact that the amount of electric vehicles in the country is still low.

German Morales, managing partner of the accounting services firm Grant Thornton, explained that “… technologies do not change so quickly in one place and it is not so easy for Costa Rica to quickly have only 100% alternative energy vehicles. That’s why the window for the industry is needed.”

Morales added that “… the two years will not be enough and should rather be maintained over time. It should reach a point where only electric vehicles are exempted, but it should be a 5-7-year period.”

The current Government maintains the goal of the economy being decarbonized by 2050.

A positive year for electric vehicles

2019 was a positive year for electric mobility in the country: in total 552 electric cars were imported, according to data from the Asociación de Movilidad Eléctrica (Asomove) – Association of Electric Mobility. Of these, 63% were new cars and 37% used.

According to data from Asomove and the TICA system (Sistema TICA (Tecnología de Información para el Control Aduanero))currently, more than 1,000 electric vehicles are already circulating.

For this year (2020) new car dealers project a considerable increase in electric car sales.

Costa Rica is among the nations with more zero-emission models in the continent; third in Latin America, behind Mexico and Colombia with more electric vehicles, according to the Bloomberg Financial Unit.

Hyundai, Nissan, BYD, Audi, JAC, Zotye, Yudo, Fumero Motors, Kia, BMW and Toyota, among others, are the brands for new electric vehicles; while in used vehicles the list is broader.

EV Imports, a company dedicated exclusively to the sale of pre-owned 100% electric cars, told La Republica it projects that by the end of the year they will sell around 100 models.