Italy looks to sink $1 billion into boosting electric cars

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Italy has some of the oldest, most polluting cars in Europe clogging up its roads, and the country is lagging behind other European countries in EV adoption. But the government aims to change that, to the tune of a $1 billion investment to encourage people to ditch their gas- or diesel-burning cars for electric ones.

Bloomberg reports that the Italian industry ministry is weighing a plan to sink €930 million ($1 billion) into some enticing financial incentives to nudge drivers toward electric cars. This includes an incentive topping €13,750 to allow Italian citizens with an annual income lower than €30,000 to replace old Euro 2 models (meeting emissions standards set back in 1997) for new electric cars. An EV made is Italy is even better.

Italy is the home of the oldest vehicle fleet in Europe, the government cites, with at least 11 million Euro 3 cars (with emissions standards set in 2001) or lower-grade vehicles on the roads.

The new plan also aims to help low-income families purchase made-in-Italy EVs, similar to the package offered by France’s made-in-France incentives. Bloomberg writes that the plan will be presented to auto representatives next month.

Meanwhile, sales are surging in Italy, with new car registrations jumping 19% last year to 1.57 million. But petrol cars take the lead, gaining more than 29% market share, according to Electromaps. BEVs still only have a 3.9% market share, compared to 4.2% for PHEVs, during that same time.

But still, legacy automakers are pulling back on their EV initiatives due to worries over slow EV uptake. Volkswagen’s Audi is pulling back on its EV rollout plans, and Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s chief financial officer described the EV industry as “brutal” back in October, according to Bloomberg.

For for the EU as a whole, new data shows electric cars and plug-in hybrids made up more than 24% of all new passenger car registrations in the region this year, rising a bit from last year. By 2035, all new cars and vans registered in Europe will be zero-emission – if automakers keep making new cars, that is.

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