Italy plans cash stick-and-car­rot pro­gramme to tempt mo­torists to go greener

Sunday Times - - Business Cars -

It will be­come more and more at­trac­tive to buy less pol­lut­ing cars Michele Dell ’Orco & Da­vide Crippa

Ital­ian gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials

Italy plans to of­fer sub­si­dies of up to €6,000 (R96,000) to buy­ers of new lowe­mis­sion ve­hi­cles and will in­crease taxes on new petrol and diesel cars, two gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said this week.

Con­cerns over cli­mate change are push­ing Euro­pean law­mak­ers to tighten emis­sions reg­u­la­tions, but the car in­dus­try says that would harm its com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Italy’s lower house bud­get com­mit­tee ap­proved an amend­ment to the 2019 bud­get in­tro­duc­ing a bonus for peo­ple who buy a new elec­tric, hy­brid or meth­ane gaspow­ered car from Jan­uary 1.

If ap­proved, the in­cen­tives will run until 2021 and total up to €300m a year.

Un­der the same mea­sure, pur­chases of new cars run­ning on tra­di­tional fu­els will be sub­ject to a sur­charge of up to €3,000 based on the level of car­bon emis­sions pro­duced.

“It will be­come more and more at­trac­tive to buy less pol­lut­ing cars,” said in­fra­struc­ture un­der­sec­re­tary Michele Dell’Orco and in­dus­try un­der­sec­re­tary Da­vide Crippa in a state­ment.

Dell’Orco and Crippa are both members of the anti-es­tab­lish­ment 5-Star Move­ment which is keen to phase out fos­sil fu­els and pro­mote the use of elec­tric­ity gen­er­ated from re­new­able sources.

Italy is cur­rently locked in a bat­tle with Brus­sels about its planned deficit spend­ing poli­cies.

Elec­tric, hy­brid and meth­ane gaspow­ered cars made up 7% of Italy’s car sales last month, ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided by for­eign car man­u­fac­tur­ers as­so­ci­a­tion Un­rae.

How­ever, Italy’s main car man­u­fac­turer Fiat Chrysler does not sell any elec­tric and hy­brid cars at present in Europe.

The com­pany said last week it planned to spend more than €5bn on new mod­els and engines in Italy be­tween 2019 and 2021, fo­cused on the devel­op­ment of elec­tric and hy­brid engines.

The head of the Ital­ian car sec­tor’s as­so­ci­a­tion An­fia, Paolo Scud­ieri, asked the gov­ern­ment not to in­cen­tivise sales of elec­tric cars, say­ing EU law­mak­ers were ne­go­ti­at­ing emis­sions tar­gets that were “un­rea­son­able” in terms of tim­ing and ap­pli­ca­tion.

Ger­many said in Oc­to­ber it wants car­mak­ers to of­fer own­ers trade-in in­cen­tives and hard­ware fixes to re­duce pol­lu­tion from diesel ve­hi­cles.

Daimler said it was pre­pared to par­tic­i­pate in the retro­fit pro­gramme and of­fered in­cen­tives of up to €10,000 for those swap­ping old cars for new Mercedes mod­els.

BMW also said it would of­fer a trade-in in­cen­tive of €6,000 in the most pol­luted parts of the coun­try.

France’s Re­nault said it was of­fer­ing own­ers of older diesel ve­hi­cles in Ger­many in­cen­tives of up to €10,000 if they bought new cars.

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