Updated | Used car importers say budget incentives not enough for mass electric car switch

Importers of second-hand cars say budget incentives are insufficient to sway the bulk of drivers to make the switch to electric vehicles • Importers of new cars welcome measures

Updated at 1:51pm with reaction from new car importers

The budget measures introduced to encourage people to buy electric vehicles are insufficient to sway the bulk of drivers to make the switch, second-hand car importers said. 

In a joint statement, the Used Vehicles Importers Association (UVIA) and the Malta Car Importers Association (MCIA) said that 85% of the vehicles they import could be converted into electric cars. 

As such, with the proper measures introduced by the government, the country could quickly achieve its target on electric vehicle use, the two groups said.

The associations said they welcomed the grant increases and measures to encourage motorists to shift to electric cars, they believe the initiatives will not be enough to sway the bulk of people. 

The associations recognised that new vehicles should benefit from higher grants, however, they argued that there is a discrepancy between grants for new and used cars, which is far too broad, creating an imbalance in the market.

Thus the associations observed that many lower-income earners would not be able to afford electric vehicles despite the higher grants. 

The groups said this put the livelihoods of various importers at risk.

New car importers welcome measures

Meanwhile, the Association of Car Importers Malta (ACIM), which represents importers of new cars, welcomed the budget measures targeting electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

"ACIM believes that this is another step in the right direction towards reaching the desired goals towards electrification of vehicles," the association said.

On Monday, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana unveiled several measures to encourage a shift towards electric vehicles, including a grant of €11,000 for those who buy an electric or plug-in hybrid car that can go up to €12,000 if an old vehicle is scrapped. The previous grant stood at €8,000.

Existing schemes such as the exemption for motorists who buy electric and plug-in hybrid cars from paying their road licence for the first five years were also renewed.

Government also committed itself to increase the number of charging pillars in the coming three years.

Correction: A previous version of this article wrongly referred to Malta Car Importers Association (MCIA) as representative of new car importers. Importers of new cars are represented by the Association of Car Importers Malta (ACIM).