Government says it will continue pushing electric cars initiative despite GoTo quitting Malta

(source: Official Website of GoTo)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 28 September, 2022 at 1:40 pm by Andre Camilleri

Government will continue to push the electrification of vehicles on the island towards the goal of zero-emission vehicles in Malta, despite GoTo rental car service’s decision to quit its services on the island, Environment Minister Miriam Dalli said today.

Dalli was answering questions by the media on concerns around the decision taken by GoTo, where the rental car company decided to stop its services in Malta.

The news came a few hours after a 17-year-old girl crashed one of GoTo’s cars into a wall with three others inside. A 21-year-old man who was a passenger in the car has since died, although it is not believed that GoTo’s decision is related to the accident.

Dalli refused to divulge into the reasons as to why GoTo made this decision after saying that she has spoken with one of the Maltese representatives of the company.

“The government will continue with its commitment to stop importing internal combustion engines and we have given the cut-off date in the PL manifesto which is in 2030. Government will also continue giving grants to vehicles which do not pollute the environment for a zero-emission future,” Dalli said.

Dalli also said that the government is strengthening the infrastructure of this initiative by identifying accessible locations for charging ports for battery-electric vehicles.

Asked if government is worried that the GoTo initiative has failed, Dalli again refused to give a reason as to why the company has decided to leave the island and said that plans for the country have not changed.

Last week, Finance Minister Clyde Caruana said that he wants to leverage the private sector to be involved in urban green parks.

Asked how would this work, Dalli said: “we are looking into different types of financing for different projects”.

She said that there are those projects which need to be completely financed by the government, whilst others can be through a public-private partnership, meaning that “we can also create different concepts of parks which go beyond just a simple garden, but a park which provides a green lung in localities; whilst still being an attraction for people”.

“There are several different models we are looking into” said Dalli.

She further explained that not every model is going to apply to the same site in the same way.

Asked whether she could guarantee that these sites are not over-commercialised into shopping centres instead of green lungs, she said that the latter has and is always the priority for the government.

“Every individual project will have its own business case…when we talk about the private sector being involved in these kind of projects, let’s not start from the idea that it has to be a shopping centre, from what we can see from abroad, we have many ideas for parks that have continued to be a green lung where obviously they serve as an attraction to people.”

She feels confident that this can be achieved in Malta if “we think in a creative and innovative way”, as these kind of projects are not being invented from scratch as the best practices from abroad and can be looked into and adopted.

On the next budget, she said that energy sector is going to be an important pillar.

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