Austria increases incentives to buy electric cars

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austria will boost financial incentives for buying battery-powered cars and bicycles, and triple grants for charging points from July in its efforts to fight global warming, the economy minister said on Monday.

Electric car buyers will get 5,000 euros ($5,640) in support from Wednesday, up from 3,000 euros, Leonore Gewessler told a news conference.

The increase is the result of a joint effort with the car industry, which will contribute 2,000 euros to the subsidy, she said.

The minister also announced a tripling of support for charging points to 600 euros for home charging stations or intelligent charging cables, and 1,800 euros for charging points in multi-occupancy buildings.

Austria currently has around 5,500 charge points and wants to increase that number as quickly as possible, she said.

Nearly 33,000 electric vehicles (EVs) were registered in Austria by the end of May, just 0.7% of the total number of cars, according to Statistik Austria. Around two thirds of the EVs are commercial vehicles.

Up to 1,200 euros will also be provided to support the purchase of e-bikes, the minister said. Up to 700 euros will be provided by the state and the rest by the distributor.

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Riham Alkousaa and Mark Potter