Around 130 charging bays for electric and hybrid vehicles will be built across Malta and Gozo by mid-2021, the government said on Friday. 

The charging bays will be distributed "as evenly as possible" across the country and care will be taken to ensure they do not hinder pedestrian access, Energy Minister Michael Farrugia said. 

No details about the charging bays' precise locations was provided. 

Farrugia said that the project was intended to prepare the infrastructure needed to make electric vehicles more attractive to purchase, as Malta works towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2050. 

“An issue we’ve had to deal with is whether to promote use of electric cars first and then build charging bays to accommodate them, or the other way around. 

“With this initiative, we are taking the first step, and would like to encourage the private sector to do their part as well,” the minister said.

The government's fleet of vehicles is also being gradually switched to electric ones, while carpooling is encouraged within the public sector, Farrugia added. 

Photo: Chris Sant FournierPhoto: Chris Sant Fournier

Pilot project to calculate ideal tariff rate

Authorities have yet to decide on a price per kilowatt to charge users of the charging bays, with the minister saying that a pilot project involving 300 electric vehicles was currently underway to help figure out a cost-effective tariff. 

“This will help us determine the scaling of the project and establish a standard charging fee across the board,” Farrugia said.

When asked about what else the government is doing to achieve carbon neutrality, Farrugia mentioned the car scrappage and exchange schemes offered by the government.

“Transport Malta offers grants to people to encourage switching over to electric cars while scrapping older motor vehicles. In addition, we are investing in alternative energy such as solar farms to make sure that we have a more diverse portfolio,” the minister said.

The minister said that the office of the prime minister is working on creating a forum in which carbon neutrality by 2050 will be the main focus. A task force to lead this project will be announced shortly.

Furthermore, he said that the government has recently extended a legal notice for solar energy targets, with budgets and resources increased to make up for the oversubscribed service. 

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