Grants given for the registration of new petrol or diesel cars should be scrapped and the money instead poured into subsidies to encourage electric vehicles, used car importers have said.
The proposal, presented by the Malta Car Importers Association and Used Vehicles Importers Association, would raise the purchase prices of internal combustion engine vehicles while lowering those of electric equivalents.
The two associations said that additional electric vehicle grants could increase electric vehicle imports by up to 11,000 annually.
“Thus, the government’s target of having 65,000 EVvehicles by 2030 would be surpassed by up to 31,000 EVs,” it said in a document laying out its pre-budget proposals.
According to official statistics, there were just under 4,000 registered electric vehicles in Malta by the end of June - 0.9 per cent of the total vehicle stock in the country.
The association described the five-point document as “a proactive roadmap for the electrification of vehicles found across the Maltese islands.”
Its five proposals are:
- A bigger budget for EV vehicle grants.
- A collective effort to ensure funds are distributed fairly among all stakeholders.
- Abolishing government grants given to ICE vehicles.
- Installing charging stations at association members’ premises
- Streamlining the term new vehicle in terms of the laws of Malta
Established in 2021, the MCIA represents 75 different companies relating to car imports, specifically from the UK.
According to its data, the used car market is significantly larger than that for new cars in Malta, but that trend is flipped when it comes to electric vehicles: 95 per cent of EVs were newly registered vehicles while only 5% were used electric vehicle imports, it said.
That statistic is complicated by the definition of ‘new car’ under local law. While for VAT purposes, a new car is one with fewer than 6,000km and/or under six months on the road, when it comes to car grants, a new car is defined as one that was previously unregistered.
The association is proposing to streamline that definition and clarify it once and for all.
Pledges to increase the electrification of Malta’s vehicle fleet have gathered steam in recent months, with Energy Minister Miriam Dalli unveiling plans to introduce a new regulatory framework for charging stations and promising to install 130 new charging docks by the end of the year and Finance Minister Clyde Caruana saying the upcoming budget will see a “substantial increase” in grants to buy an electric vehicle.
Currently, car purchasers can receive a grant of up to €9,000 if they buy a new EV while scrapping a car that is at least 10 years old. Grants begin at €5,000 if buying an EV that has previously been registered.