Electric car-charging station

Malta unveils draft strategy for electric car-charging infrastructure

Malta unveils draft strategy for electric car-charging infrastructure

The plan lays out preferable rates in off-peak hours and incentives for the private sector to invest in public charging stations

A draft national strategy for the development of public charging infrastructure for electric cars was unveiled in Malta on Wednesday by Energy Minister Miriam Dalli. The plan, which now goes to public consultation, aims to reduce carbon emissions by making owning electric cars easier on the pocket. To this end, the draft strategy envisages preferable electricity rates in off-peak hours for consumers as well as incentives for the private sector to invest in public charging stations.

The twilight of fossil-fuel cars

Last month, the European Commission proposed banning all new diesel and petrol cars in the EU from 2035, as part of the so-called 'Fit-for-55' package for the environment.

In this regard, Enemalta CEO Jason Vella, quoted by Malta Today, said during the presentation of the strategy that Malta aims to electrify all its vehicles within a few years to meet its target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. He pointed out that switching to e-cars offers significant environmental benefits.

Vella added that the leading electricity services provider is committed to offering preferential rates to consumers so that e-cars can become a more palatable choice. A pilot project for electric charging enacted by Enemalta trialled discounted electricity rates in the off-peak hours. Vella said that 58 percent of consumers benefitted from this scheme. 

Widespread national infrastructure needed

During the presentation, policy advisor Abigail Cutajar said offering charging facilities at multiple venues – in public places, at home, en route and at the final destination – is essential, and this requires rolling out comprehensive nationwide infrastructure.   

The idea, according to Cutajar, is to provide equal opportunity to the private sector through the standardisation of sockets, price harmonisation, regularisation of the market and licensing, and a distribution plan. She also insisted on the concept of interoperability – the ability of one operator to use the facilities of others.

Private sector involvement

Energy Minister Miriam Dalli emphasised the need for a national policy for clean transport. There are still just around 4,000 electric vehicles on the streets of Malta, she said, and the main incentive to prospective buyers is lower charging rates.

She suggested that the private sector can help in this by also engaging in the installation of public charging stations. Through this scheme, private operators will obtain a licence for 10 years and be included in a publically accessible national registry.  

According to Dalli, the electricity rates that are going to be offered are among the most competitive in Europe and way less than those of petrol and diesel fuels. This policy will bring about better public health, more sustainable communities, more green jobs and carbon emissions reduction, the minister stressed. 

To incentivise the transition to emission-free transport, the government announced in April five grant schemes, one of which allows a person to get a rebate of EUR 9,000 towards the price of purchase of an electric or a hybrid plug-in vehicle provided that the old car is scrapped.

Opposition scepticism

The opposition Nationalist Party (PN) has blamed the Labour government for sacrificing public health in favour of the economy when it renegotiated with the EU Malta’s carbon reduction target to 19 percent by 2030, down from the initial 36 percent request.

Asked by MaltaToday to comment on this accusation, Dalli said that PN is not credible on energy policy. She drew attention to the fact that while some EU member states are still reliant on energy derived from coal, Malta has already transitioned from the use of heavy fuel oil to cleaner natural gas.

Responding to the draft national strategy announcement, PN spokesperson David Thake said that it offers nothing new. In his opinion, the minister has failed to specify how she intends to tackle existing problems, including the widespread lack of charging stations and the need to educate people in using them responsibly.



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