METI to subsidize expressway tolls for electric vehicles

JIJI, Staff Report

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Thursday it will launch an expressway fee subsidy program for 40,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles from May till the end of the fiscal year in March 2016.

The subsidies will be offered on condition that drivers provide information on their use of expressways and battery chargers.

METI plans to use the data to calculate how chargers should be installed on expressways to ensure the smooth use of low-emissions vehicles. The program will cover expressways across the country, excluding six metropolitan expressways.

This is how the scheme works.

Expressway toll fees over ¥1,000 will be fully subsidized until August.

Between September and December, expressway fees over ¥2,000 will only be half-subsidized.

From January on, no subsidy will be paid.

Regardless of the periods, all subsidies will be paid to drivers in a lump sum at the end of the program in March 2016.

The subsidies are capped at ¥20,000 per month and ¥60,000 for the entire period.

METI will start accepting applications for the expressway subsidies online starting April 1, on a first-come, first-served basis. The drivers’ information will be collected from cards used in the electronic toll collection system and chargers.