Both the Labour government and the Nationalist Opposition are failing to explain the full picture to the public when it comes to the proposed shift to electric vehicles, according to ADPD.
The government has made shifting Malta’s existing car fleet electric central to its carbon neutrality strategy.
Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia said earlier this month that the government needed to ensure that by 2030 65,000 cars – equivalent to 7,000 a year – are turned electric in order to reach its goals.
In recent days, both the government and the Nationalist Party have put forward proposals on Malta’s shift to electric transport with both parties proposing lower electricity rates for charging cars. The government has alsopledged to implement proper car charging infrastructure across the island.
But ADPD has insisted that both parties are glossing over a number of key issues with electric transport when putting forward their proposals.
The party, through its secretary general Ralph Cassar, pointed out that the government’s strategy included no solutions to the obvious problem of whether Enemalta’s distribution network could take such a large increase in cars needing to be charged.
“All [the document] says is that Enemalta should be consulted. The fact is, no matter how hard they try to hide it, it is not possible for the distribution system to keep up with the current number of cars on the roads,” Cassar said.
“It seems that the amount of electricity consumed will increase so much that any new generation of clean energy will end up not meeting the demand. How will the zero carbon targets be met?”
The “exaggerated” amount of cars on Malta’s roads meant that there would ultimately be no impact on the emissions generated and all that would happen is that, once the new interconnector is built, Malta will simply start exporting the emissions to the source, Cassar said.
“Malta will eventually have to pay EU taxes on carbon anyway because the electricity in the interconnector is not clean electricity. The other parties fail to mention that their interconnector ‘brainwave’ does not really reduce pollution and climate-damaging gases,” he added.
Party chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said that if the government really intended to electrify the country’s car fleet, it should declare a moratorium on the construction of new fuel stations.
“Conveniently the government fails to take this step. Another important impact the government is not mentioning is the substantial excise revenue on petrol and diesel. This revenue stream will dry up. The 2021 financial estimates put the revenue at an estimated €154 million,” Cacopardo said.
“Government should have the courage to tell us how it intends to replace this revenue from other sources. Let us not kid ourselves – this substantial revenue is essential to sustain important public services.”
He called on the government to publish any reports it had on the impact of the change from internal combustion engine cars to electric vehicles.
ADPD insisted that rather than announcing what its plans were, the government should engage in a consultation exercise in order to come up with a realistic plan suited to the country’s needs.
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