The recently announced incentives for Maltese businesses by Malta Enterprise to encourage investment in electric charging infrastructure is indeed another very important step in the right direction.

This new Green Mobility Scheme which offers tax credits and interest rate subsidies on loans required for investing in charging infrastructure is not only important because it continues to encourage businesses to adopt more sustainable transportation practices, but it is also important in terms of timing. I shall explain.

Because whilst there already is ample awareness of the European Union’s goal to become a climate-neutral continent by 2050 by incentivizing the transition to more sustainable transport, scepticism towards this goal in terms of viability and outcomes of all these investments unfortunately, continues to persist.

An article published earlier this year by Forbes described how Europeans have been showing less enthusiasm towards electric vehicles, a sentiment driven mostly by an agenda that tends to sound louder when highlighting certain disadvantages surrounding this cleaner technology.

This sentiment was further amplified when late last year, Germany, which, with about 25% of sales is Europe’s biggest market, decided to end its subsidies leading to a further weakening of the EV market.

Therefore, with the European Union’s imminent plans to further curb internal combustion engines to further support its commitment towards a total ban by 2035, a new context has been created which should put EV sales back on the fast lane by 2025 as experts reckon EV sales will more than quadruple by 2030. 

This is why timing is important. Because when potential buyers are still struggling to embrace EV technology, newly introduced incentives at EU and Government levels go a long way to convince businesses that this could potentially be the best way forward for transportation – a sector that remains pivotal in business operations but which sadly, also remains a major significant contributor to environmental pollution.

Against this international backdrop, we have witnessed a decision by Malta’s government to introduce new schemes and financial incentives such as tax credits and grants to support investments in Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure and leasing clean or zero-emission vehicles.

Locally, the timing of these incentives is also important because while scepticism towards EV technology might still be there, these new grants launched by Malta Enterprise should go a long way in encouraging further businesses to transition to electric vehicles for their transport and logistics requirements and convince them that their decision is no longer a leap of faith but more a decision steeped in tangible deliverables.

This is why as with any new technology, trust is fundamental. But in this case, citizens’ trust should not only be in technology but nurtured first and foremost in the institutions that are proposing this new way forward for cleaner mobility. If there is trust in the institutions, there will be trust in the policies, laws and fundamental beliefs that are driving this environmental revolution.

Trust also requires the fulfilment of certain expectations.  One such expectation is the notion that whilst climate urgency requires cleaner road mobility and transport, this same urgency should also expect the same environmental standards from other sectors.

Therefore, whilst most of the focus seems to be on road transport, authorities and regulators at EU level would do well to also shift their focus on the maritime sector, which despite its importance, remains very much unscrutinized and under-regulated in terms of emissions and pollution.

Climate change and the urgency to address it, should apply to all sectors. Failure to address other equal sources of pollution can only contribute further distrust in the need to revert to EV technology.

First published on Times of Malta.