Malta’s potential to act as a test-bed for e-mobility solutions was a major theme at the first international E-Mobility Summit, which brought together international industry players such as electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Some high-profile speakers included Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, Thomas Becker, Vice President of Governmental Affairs BMW Group, and Jesper Vind, CEO of Fenris Motorcycles, among others of international repute.
Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat inaugurated the summit with a commitment to make Malta an “e-mobility trendsetter in the EU and the world”.
“Malta is facing major transformation. It is the fastest growing European economy and like any other modern and strong economy, we are experiencing challenges that stem from this progress. But we see them as a huge opportunity and this is why we are here today, to discuss solutions for the present and for the future.”
He said Malta is currently setting its vision to accelerate its plans for the transition towards zero-emission vehicles. “All of Malta can become a pilot-study for a European nationwide roll-out of products that the industry has to offer. We are ready to listen to proposals on how we can make the Maltese Islands the first European state running its cars on electricity”, Muscat said. He added that Government is currently in discussions with Enemalta to come out with attractive energy tariffs.
MEP Miriam Dalli who championed the introduction of stricter emissions standards in the EU by 2030 highlighted that the future of mobility will be defined by more than electric vehicles. She said that electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel cell technology might all play a role, and research has shown that there is still potential to improve the efficiency of the traditional combustion engine. She also highlighted Malta as a place for pilot projects, “not only for eMobility but also for cleaner energy in general”.
Second person from right to left is MEP Miriam Dalli
Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General of the European Commission’s environment directorate,agreed that Malta can become a “living laboratory for electric mobility” due to the potential to charge cars using solar power and the short distances on the island, which means range anxiety is not an issue.
Christina Bu from the Norwegian EV Association said China is way ahead of Europe in producing electric cars, and Chinese car manufacturers are now entering the European market. “European manufacturers have to act now and respond to a growing demand for electric cars. Otherwise it will be Kodak moment for the European car industry.” To emphasise her point she mentioned that today over 40% of all new cars sold in Norway are electric vehicles.
Thomas Becker, Vice President Government and External Affairs of the BMW Group, said 9% of all BMWs sold in Malta in 2018 were electric. Malta is an outperformer in this regard, he said, adding that the EU average was 7.2%.
The Summit highlighted Malta’s intention to become a part of the transport sector’s journey into the future. The long-term vision for the sector includes a greener and cleaner Malta. “An e-cars Commission has already been established, which has been tasked to establish a cut-off date for the importation and registration of conventional fuel vehicles”, Joseph Muscat said, adding that Government is willing to partner with companies that can introduce innovative technologies and help build a new infrastructural future.