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New Italian Government Regime Targets 1 Million Electric Vehicles Sold By 2020

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In Europe, the leader of the electric-car revolution has long definitively been Norway, which offers strong incentives for electrics and has done so for a long while. If there were one country in Europe that I would guess is the opposite of that, though, I would probably have to say Italy.

Not Sweden, Though: That’s where Hyundai was recently testing its electric vehicles for cold readiness

As home of Fiat Chrysler, Italy’s greatest automotive industry outputs have been resistant to electric vehicles — FCA head Sergio Marchionne infamously encouraged people not to buy the Fiat 500e, and the various Fiat-Chrysler brands have very few electrics or plug-in hybrids among them. Also, there is the fact that the EU launched legal action against Italy for allegedly ignoring allegations that Fiat Chrysler was cheating on emissions tests (something that the US sued the company over).

So, it comes as something of a surprise that a new government in Italy is extremely supportive of electric vehicles, and in fact is apparently pursuing a goal of 1 million battery-powered cars in Italy by 2022, a number that would make the country Europe’s leader in electric cars.

The new government is a coalition between political parties the League and the Five Star Movement, the latter of which is leading to push for electrics led by 31-year-old Luigi Di Maio, who came up with the 1-million-vehicle figure while on campaign through Sicily last year. A government spokesman confirmed that the Italian government is working toward that target, although whether that figure includes hybrids is unclear.

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So, what is Italy going to do? Well, in the original contract between Five Star and the League, Five Star inserted a passage calling for incentive to support buyers of new electric and hybrid vehicles. However, in order to reach a million electric vehicles by 2022, analysts say that the country would have to institute incentives at least on par with Norway’s, to the tune of about 10,000 euros per vehicle, or a total of about 10 billion euros (that’s a little over $11.6 million for us in the states). And even then, that might not be enough, as other problems include the universal public charging infrastructure issue.

There is hope, though, that electric could be a hit, as Italy is already moving toward non-gasoline engines as Europe’s biggest market for natural-gas cars, with about 230,000 of them sold last year.

News Source: Bloomberg