Italy’s new Government has ambitious EV plans

25 June 2018

Italy’s new Government has ambitious EV plans

25 June 2018

Italy plans to overtake Norway as Europe’s strongest market for electric vehicles (EVs) as its new Government plans its future transport strategy.

In 2017, Italians bought just 1,967 EVs from a total of over two million new vehicle registrations, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). Taking plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) into account, that figure rises to 4,827.

Norway, meanwhile, sold 33,025 pure electric vehicles in 2017, and with PHEV sales added, a total of 62,313 electrically chargeable vehicles were registered. Across the rest of Europe, Germany sold 54,617 plug-in vehicles; the UK had 47,298 sales, France achieved 36,835, while Sweden saw 19,678 sales and Belgium registered 14,299 vehicles in this category.

Therefore, in order to achieve a plan to become Europe’s leader in EV sales, Italy will need to challenge the perceptions of the technology in the country. However, the country’s new coalition partner, the Five Star Movement, unveiled plans to put one million electrified vehicles on the country’s roads by 2022 as part of the party’s campaign before elections in March.

During coalition negotiations which were concluded at the start of June, Five Star managed to insert a passage on ‘reductions in gasoline and diesel vehicles.’ The document goes on to call for ‘incentives to support the acquisition of electric and hybrid vehicles,’ which could include a scrappage scheme.

In Norway, incentives include tax breaks on EVs and exemptions from tolls, as well as free ferry passage. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), Norwegians can expect around €9,000 in incentives on an electric Volkswagen Golf or €7,000 on the German manufacturer’s Up! model. In France, incentives run to about €10,000 per EV purchase.

Therefore, the new Italian Government will need to find up to €10 billion in order to meet its one million vehicle target, as well as spending on a campaign to popularise the technology.

Deliveries in Europe's less vibrant EV markets, a figure which excludes fast-growing France, Germany and the UK, are set to increase to 354,000 in 2022 from 182,000 in 2018, according to BNEF. While the researcher doesn't give estimates for Italy alone, BNEF in its Long-Term Electric Vehicle Outlook 2018 said Italian take-up of EVs is ‘far behind’ the rest of the region, and that it ‘pulls the average of Europe down.’

However, there is little doubt that Italy will eventually embrace electrification, and regulators and politicians across the country are pushing for zero-emission vehicles. The city of Rome will ban diesel cars beginning in 2024 and Milan has begun drawing up plans for a diesel-free future.

Fiat Chrysler (FCA) boss Officer Sergio Marchionne, a one-time EV sceptic, now says his company will invest €9 billion to develop electric cars by 2022. Marchionne expects that by 2025 fewer than half the cars sold globally will be fully combustion-powered.