Italy’s newly-instated populist coalition has announced its intention to grow the country’s historically-weak electric vehicle market by putting one million new EV’s on the nation’s roads by 2022.
But the proposal has been met with a raft of criticism from industry experts who believe a lack of detail and foresight will cripple the government’s mission to eventually overtake Norway as Europe’s leading EV market.
They say it is uncertain whether the debt-ridden country could find the A$15 billion needed for an extensive electric subsidy scheme, which will be the key to winning over consumers.
The EV announcement is the first official proposal to the country since the coalition partners (Five Star Movement and the League) were sworn into office earlier this month.
It forms part of the governing contract between the two parties and reflects a mission to pull Italy out of the automotive doldrums and accelerate the adoption of electric technology.
But the government is yet to realise the hefty cost of its electric plan and the coalition has been heavily criticised for the lack of clarifying data or numeric targets available for public consumption.
The governing contract, which stated “reductions in gasoline and diesel vehicles” and called for “incentives to support the acquisition of electric and hybrid vehicles”, has been tagged as vague in its ambitions and lacking in substance.
Critics point specifically to a lack of detail on how the government will create the infrastructure necessary to cope with the massive surge in electricity demand for the proposed number of new EVs.
Norway leading the way in EV incentives
Italy could look to its neighbours for a lesson in how to sell the EV proposal.
In Norway, for example, EV incentives cover everything from tax breaks and exemptions from tolls, to free ferry passage.
Norwegians can expect about A$14,000 in incentives on an electric version of the Volkswagen Golf, or A$11,000 for the smaller VW Up.
And in France (which looks set to triple its EV sales to about 150,000 by May 2022, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance) incentives run to about A$15,500 per electric car purchase.
This month, a government spokesperson confirmed that Italy is working towards the one million vehicle target but declined to comment on the cost.
Italy’s EV sales still low
According to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association, Italians bought around 2,600 fully electric passenger vehicles last year, out of a total of 2 million cars sold.
The number rises to 4,800 in plug-in hybrid models.
Less than 5,000 fully electric models are estimated to be on Italy’s roads today.
The added future demand in is expected to play in on the battery metals used in the production of electric vehicles.