Malta strategy for electric vehicles launched

A national strategy for the introduction of electric cars in Malta was launched this morning.

The strategy was spearheaded by a committee set up in June last year which consulted with stakeholders. It also carried out a survey on the public’s perception of conventional cars and attitude to alternative means of transport.

Committee chairman Peter Mifsud pointed out that electric cars had lower running costs compared to conventional cars.

While a traditional car used up 7c of fuel per kilometre, an electric car used 2.5c.

He pointed out that Malta had one of the EU’s highest growth rates in the amount of cars. And while the average age of cars in Malta was 12.7 years, in the EU it was eight years.

Electric cars did not produce emissions and were 2.5 times more efficient when compared to fuel-driven cars. Although they were cleaner, they were also more expensive to buy.

Mr Mifsud said that at least 30 per cent of respondents in the survey said that economy was the most influential factor when buying a car followed by 18 per cent who said they looked at the price.

Only eight per cent said the environmental impact was an influencing factor.

Electric cars can be charged fast or slow – the slow charge takes six to eight hours, the fast charge takes around 30 minutes. Mr Mifsud said that fast charging points were not considered to be a priority because of the short travel distances. Slow charging was also better for battery life.

The government intends fixing some 100 electricty charging points all over Malta by the end of next year.

Resources Minister George Pullicino said the government today launched a scheme whereby people and companies who would like to try out an electric car would be able to apply to do so.

The €2 million project, 50 per cent of which will be EU funded, will allow 24 people to drive an electric car for a trial period of three months. The information and applications can be downloaded online.

The volunteers will only be paying for the consumption of electricity to drive the car, must own a valid driving licence and be 25 years or over. A number of volunteers must also have photovoltaics at home and some testers will include businesses and private companies.

The government today also launched a rebate scheme for buyers of private electric cars, amounting to 25 per cent of total cost up to maximum of €4,000.