Italy is losing ground in the electric car sector compared to other major European countries: registrations on the peninsula are slowing down, and the gap with the major EU markets is widening. But why is our country falling behind other European leaders? “The Italian anomaly is the result of multiple causes that require urgent discussion with all stakeholders,” notes Francesco Naso, the secretary-general of Motus–E. He adds, “The incentive system inherited from previous governments is not working, but a few adjustments, with the same resources, can make it more appealing and effective.”

The solution? Raise the price cap for accessing incentives, extend them in full to companies and rentals – also to fuel the used electric car market – and reconsider fleet taxation from a green perspective, a topic on which we have already worked on a targeted proposal. All of this while ensuring a certain stability in the incentive framework, linking bonus announcements to the actual allocation of resources to avoid negative effects on the market. According to the Motus-E secretary, “reviewing incentives is essential, but to bring Italy back to the center of the global automotive industry, we must also overcome ideological clashes over technologies.”

To get to the root of Italy’s delay, Motus-E has analyzed the correlation between electric car registrations and key variables such as the spread of public charging infrastructure and the average income of the population. “Italy has a denser charging network compared to countries like France and Germany relative to the number of electric cars in circulation, and an analysis of market data and Istat and OECD surveys reveals a picture worth exploring,” says Naso. He points out that “excluding the comparison with Spain, which has now overtaken us steadily in electric car market share despite having a lower average income than Italy by over 8%, it is striking to compare Northern Italy with France, which, despite having comparable average incomes, shows profoundly different trends in the auto market.”

Looking only at the northern regions of Italy, a market share of electric cars of 4% was recorded in the first 8 months of 2023, compared to the previously mentioned 15.4% in France. In the EU, full electric vehicles continue to break records, while in Italy, registrations are still struggling to take off, with September even erasing the timid positive signals of previous months.

In more detail, in the recently concluded month, 4,955 new electric vehicles were registered in Italy (a decrease of 2.3% compared to September 2022), with a market share dropping to 3.6%. In the first 9 months of the year, electric cars registered in Italy numbered 45,790, showing a 28.2% increase compared to the same period in 2022 and a market share of 3.9%, while the full electric vehicle fleet stood at 209,338 units as of September 30.

Observing what is happening in individual countries, Germany stands out, where electric vehicles were the primary power source in August (31.7% market share), reaching 18.6% in the first 8 months of the year. This value is not far from France’s 15.4% market share from January to August. Spain, with a full electric market share of 4.8% in the first 8 months of the year, once again ranks ahead of Italy (3.9% during the same period).

“Similar numbers suggest that Italy has triggered an almost ideological resistance to electric cars, born from the circulation of misleading information and regulatory uncertainty,” concludes the secretary-general of Motus-E. He highlights that “in a global mobility landscape clearly geared towards electric mobility, lagging behind could be fatal for the Italian industry. That’s why it’s essential that the public debate on these issues follows economic, scientific, and social guidelines, without veering off course due to beliefs and myths that could cause immeasurable damage to the future of our country.”