Categories: Environment

After having neglected the electric car for a long time, this country will finally get started

Italy, which benefits from a strong automobile industry around thermal cars, has never really started its energy transition. But things will change.

The Italian government has unveiled an ambitious financial incentive plan of 950 million euros to stimulate the renewal of the country’s automobile fleet in 2024. This announcement comes amid a heated controversy with the Stellantis group, which criticizes the government of Giorgia Meloni for not paying sufficient attention to the transition to electric vehicles.

The Minister of Business and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, presented the new “automotive incentive plan” during a meeting in Rome, in the presence of industrialists and social partners. This plan is based on three major pillars: eliminating polluting vehicles, making it easier for low-income households to change cars, and supporting automobile production in Italy.

An aging vehicle fleet

The Italian government, aware of the dilapidation of its vehicle fleet, is providing incentives for the purchase of new electric or hybrid vehicles, as well as the installation of charging stations. The Ministry of Business and Made in Italy highlighted in a document that the Italian automobile fleet is currently one of the oldest in Europe. However, these measures are not without controversy, particularly with the Stellantis group. The company’s management accused the Italian government of abandoning electricity, while exchanges of criticism broke out between Giorgia Meloni and Stellantis, with accusations of favoritism towards France since the merger of PSA with FCA in 2021.
Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, expressed his dissatisfaction within the magazine Challengesdeploring “the frank opposition” to the electric transition in Italy. He highlighted the paradox of manufacturing electric cars in Italy without the necessary government support to boost their sale.

A necessary recovery for Italy?

Stellantis, which produced around 685,000 vehicles in Italy in 2022 compared to 678,000 in France, aims to increase its production in the country to one million units by 2030. This approach aims to counter the downward trend in Italian automobile production, from more than a million vehicles in 2017 to less than 700,000 in 2022. Adolfo Urso reaffirmed on Thursday the government’s desire to bring back Italian automobile production to one million units per year.

He pointed out that despite the financial incentives, up to 80% of these went to cars produced in foreign factories, including those of Stellantis.

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