First BMW i3 arrives in Malta
The fully electric i3, purchased directly from BMW in Germany, is one of 13 electric vehicles deployed as part of the EU-funded €2.5m (£1.98m) PORT-PVEV project, and will be used by the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure and Transport Malta in the ports of Valetta and Cirkewwa.
It will be supported by new fast charging point at the Transport Malta headquarters and a photovoltaic 1,4600m2 solar charging plant at the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure, as well as three solar-powered car charging ports in its areas of use.
The trial is aimed at demonstrating the technology's suitability for the Maltese climate, topography and transport network, and the environmental benefits of using photovoltaic technology to generate the electricity for charging.
While the i3 is not officially imported into Malta, the country recently introduced incentives to increase electric vehicle use. In January, the government launched a grant scheme offering €4,000 (£3,177) off an electric car and €1,500 (£1,192) off an electric quadricycle up to 12 months old, the former rising to €5,000 if the customer trades in a vehicle over ten years old.
Small islands such as Malta are ideal for electric vehicles – with less than 25 miles from the north to the south, most journeys are well within a vehicle's range, and over twice the hours of sunshine in London per year creates opportunities to further environmental benefits by using solar charging.