We wish the US government would extend EV rebates to electric bikes.
Recently enacted Italian legislation provides subsidies for EV purchases, and we’re jealous. For Italians who make the jump from internal combustion to electric scooters, the Italian government will knock thirty percent off the list price of the vehicle, totaling up to 3,000 euros discounted from the purchase.
This subsidy applies to electric or hybrid mopeds and scooters with an electric or hybrid motor equivalent in performance to a 125cc internal combustion machine, with a top speed of slightly less than 30mph. The legislation requires that the old machine is scrapped (not sold).
The subsidies will kick in on the first of March 2019 and last through the end of the year. The Italian government has funded the program to the tune of ten million euros.
While those of us who lived through it may find the program reminiscent of the late-oughts “cash for clunkers” program here in the US, the Italian government has put slightly stricter rules around their program. High-performance electric two-wheelers need not apply, and that rules out all of Energica’s motorcycles. Also, the government has passed new taxes to be applied to new internal combustion gasoline or diesel vehicles, which will vary based on a given vehicle’s emissions. The more emissions, the higher the tax.
Other details are a bit thin at the moment, like what exactly constitutes “scrapping” your old scooter or moped. During the “cash for clunkers” program in the US, the government ran out of money in under a month and had to re-up the funding, which probably won't happen in Italy since it’s already quite well funded, but many junk yards would not take the old vehicles since the US rules specified that the engine had to be disabled, and that was the most valuable part of any old car. Taking old cars with purposely disabled engines did not help the junk yards so many opted out of the program.
Given the traffic in the larger Italian cities, replacing older, dirtier gas and diesel vehicles (especially “two-smokers”) with cleaner-running electric vehicles will no doubt be good for the air quality, but there are so many other considerations, like clean power production and battery production and disposal, to think about with the new “green” generation.