Electric car, the chaos of Italian incentives. Naso (Motus-E): «Let’s not be surprised if nobody uses them» – The interview

Electric car, the chaos of Italian incentives. Naso (Motus-E): «Let’s not be surprised if nobody uses them» – The interview
Electric car, the chaos of Italian incentives. Naso (Motus-E): «Let’s not be surprised if nobody uses them» – The interview

2022 was the boom year for electric mobility in Europe. Overall, the 27 EU countries recorded a +28% of vehicle registrations electric cars compared to the previous year. They range from +158% in Latvia to +32% in Germany and +25% in France. All percentages preceded by a positive sign. Or rather: all but one. L’Italyin fact, it is the only EU country that saw the percentage of new registrations of electric cars drop in 2022: -26.9% on the previous year. A fact that could hide several explanations. Francis Nasopresident of Motus-E – the first Italian association born to support electric mobility – suggests one: «The incentives allocated in recent years by Italian governments have had very little acceptance – explains Naso -. There are funds to support electric mobility, but we are unable to exploit them».

How the Ecobonus works

Government incentives for buying a car fall into three emission tiers. The first (61-135 grams of CO2/km) covers petrol, diesel and hybrid cars. For these vehicles, the government provides a bonus of 1,500 euros in the event of the scrapping of a more polluting car, with a maximum price cap of 35,000 euros. The second band (21-60 grams of CO2/km) includes plug-in hybrid cars. Here the bonus provided by the government varies from 4,000 euros (in the event of scrapping) to 2,000 euros (without scrapping) with a cap set at 45,000 euros. Finally, the third band (0-20 grams of CO2/km): a bonus ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 euros for electric and hydrogen cars, with a price cap set at 35,000 euros.

In 2022, the 170 million euros allocated for the petrol and diesel cars they finished within just three weeks. 44% of the funds for electric cars, on the other hand, remained in the state coffers. How do you explain? «First of all, it must be said that Italy is the only major European country to encourage the purchase of endothermic cars, which already represent the main market segment», underlines Naso. As far as electric cars are concerned, the problem seems to be the upper price limit set at 35 thousand euros, judged too low for the vehicle category. «We have already said it several times to the government and I repeat it again: it really doesn’t make sense. It is one of the lowest limits in Europe», denounces the president of Motus-E.

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In the case of company carsthe picture becomes even more complicated. Last fall, the government established that companies that buy electric vehicles can enjoy 50% of the bonuses provided for private citizens. A figure considered too low by the business world, which has largely ignored the incentives. “Electrify the corporate fleets it is fundamental, because they allow many more people to come into direct contact with technology», explains Naso. Not only that: the other big advantage of company cars is that they often come back a few years later used market, helping to drive down the price of new electric vehicles. «We believe that in the case of companies the best solution is to act on tax deductibility rather than the purchase price. Other European countries are already doing it», adds the president of Motus-E. Even in the case of heavier vehicles, the incentives appear to have proved rather ineffective. For the electric trucks, Italy offers a bonus of 12,000 euros. While in Germanyfor example, the State grants an incentive equal to 80% of the difference in cost between an electric vehicle and a diesel one.

Another typically Italian factor also contributes to blocking the electric mobility market: i times of bureaucracy. “The incentives for private charging stations were announced in October. 5 months have passed and we still don’t know when they will arrive and how they will work», explains Francesco Naso. The same goes for the incentives on the vehicle retrofits, i.e. the possibility of transforming a motor car into an electric car thanks to a special kit. «It is a solution destined to grow in the coming years – underlines the president of Motus-E -. There is only one problem: the platform for accessing the incentives came out in February 2023 and on the website page it says that the funds are only valid until December 2022…». According to trade associations, all these hitches do nothing but discourage investors. «Car manufacturers cannot do precise planning in Italy and end up concentrating on other markets. It is also for this reason that almost everyone in Europe is doing better than us», insists Naso.

Pnrr funds at risk

Finally, the latest alarm concerns funds for charging infrastructure. With the Pnrr, theEuropean Union has made available 710 million euros to build a network from 21 thousand columns, which would make us one of the most advanced European countries on this front. Motus-E, however, highlights two problems: le deadlines too short and the setting up of tenders. “The competition areas they’re too big. The contract is awarded to those who can guarantee the minimum number of charging points envisaged in the tender, but often that number is too high, especially for smaller operators», explains Naso. The second node, on the other hand, concerns the timescales imposed by Brussels, which are often incompatible with theAuthorization process which is required in Italy, where it is the local administrations that give the green light to these infrastructures. The risk, denounces Motus-E, is to miss a train that probably won’t pass again. «Not taking advantage of this opportunity would be criminal – continues Naso -. We have already reported to the last government what we think is not working. The executive has all the tools to intervene, but so far everything has remained the same”.

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