Italy Wants One Million Electric Vehicles on its Roads

The populist government of Italy, the most sluggish market in Europe for electric vehicles, has a huge plan of putting 1 million electric vehicles on the country’s roads. Getting close to that huge target could cost the government as much as $10 billion in incentives.

As the coalition partners the Five Star Movement and the League haggled in May over the contract they were putting together to govern, Five Star was able to manage to have a passage inserted in reductions in diesel and gasoline vehicles. The document continues to say that there should be incentives to support the acquiring of hybrid and electric vehicles.

While the governing contract does not set any numeric targets, Luigi Di Maio the 31-year Five Star leader whose dual posts as the development and labor minister and the deputy premier are his first paid government jobs, has been said to be the one with the ambitious and some call unrealistic goal of 1 million electric vehicles by 2022. If that goal were reached it would make Italy the leader in electric vehicles for Europe.

If the target for 1 million EV has a campaign-style, flashy ring to it, that is due to Di Maio unveiling it during a campaign stop in 2017, while touring Sicily in a Nissan that was electric powered.

The number, which is much more aggressive that forecast by auto analysts, eventually was able to be included in the Five Star national platform.

Five Star is an anti-establishment internet based party that was founded less than a decade ago that was the largest vote getter in the national elections on March 4.

A party spokesperson confirmed that the government of Italy is working on a target without giving any clarifying data if the 1 million figures for EVs referred to those fully-electric or included hybrids.

Last year Italians bought only 2,600 full electric vehicles, out of more than 2 million vehicles sold.  That number increases to just 4,800 when adding in hybrids.

Less than 5,000 fully electric vehicles are said to be on roads across Italy today.

Critics say that large amounts of incentives would be needed to change the country from being one of the worst EV players to the biggest market in Europe. That level critics say of incentives would have to be at least close to that of Norway, which could cost billions of euros said analysts and that might not even be enough.

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