Musings on the Motoring World

Austria lifts speed restrictions for electric vehicles, not speed limits

Good news electric car owners, the Austrian National Council has recently granted electric vehicles an exemption from speed restrictions on the country’s motorways, so now you can objectively show everyone that you are better than them simply by going faster.

That being said, this isn’t a license for electric car drivers to go as their heart’s desire, as Austria doesn’t have speed limit free motorways. Instead, the national speed limit for its motorways is 130km/h, which can be restricted to 100km/h at certain sections and on occasions when too much pollution is detected. It is these restrictions that electric vehicles are now exempted from.

The speed restrictions are part of the IG-L, which stands for the Immissionsschutzgesetz-Luft or “air pollution law”, where the speed limit in approximately 440km of the country’s motorways that are designated as IG-L zones are reduced, not merely for safety reasons, but to control vehicle emissions.

Since electric vehicles don’t leave behind any tailpipe emissions, the Austrian National Council has reasoned that such vehicles shouldn’t be part of the IG-L restrictions, thus allowing drivers to travel at the national speed limit of 130km/h in IG-L enforced zones, instead of adhering to the 100km/h restriction.

As it is with today’s environmental concerns, the implementation of this exemption is also part of the country’s goal of delivering on the European Union’s 2030 climate targets, as well as further incentivising electric vehicle ownership in the country. Though it has to be said, no persuasion for electric cars is better than being handed a free pass over your fellow countryman.

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