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Europe: The Mitsubishi I-MiEV launched in Malta

It was billed as a historic moment in the history of Maltese transport. On Tuesday, the media witnessed the launch of the first full size fully electric vehicle in Malta.

There have been other electric vehicles operating on Maltese roads in the past and indeed there are some that are still on the road but these resemble golf carts rather than cars, they have a very short range and low speed – barely suitable for road use.

The Mitsubishi I-MiEV is the first practical four-seater capacity fully electric vehicle.

A car which can be driven in comfort like any other car but which costs practically nothing to run and to maintain.

This revolution eventually will mean goodbye forever to fumes and pollution.

Speaking at the launch held at his villa in Bidnija, Chev. Maurice F. Mizzi said: “I have been using this car for a whole month and I am so excited every time that I get behind the wheel. Due to the light weight of the electric engine the car has fantastic acceleration and a top speed of 130km/h, more than enough for our Maltese roads.

“With a range of 150 kilometres on full charge this car is ideal for Malta. Few people drive more than this amount of kilometres in a day.

“After a day’s work the car is charged from an ordinary 13 amp plug in my garage.

“Eventually there will be charging stations all over Malta and a system incorporated in your mobiles which will tell you which charging station is unoccupied so that you do not have to wait in order to charge your car.”

Mr Mizzi added that due to the fact that for the moment only a few thousands of these cars are being produced there are very little economies of scale. Therefore, for the next few years governments throughout the world will have to subsidise these cars.

“There is no such thing as a free lunch, and therefore if the world would like to have a pollution free atmosphere, governments will have to put their hands in their pockets and subsidise seriously.”

Ian Mizzi added that in 2010, the world vehicle population exceeded the one billion mark for the first time. The demand for vehicles by the emerging markets such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the so-called BRICS countries, have driven the rate of new car registrations up exponentially as the citizens of these countries become wealthier and their aspirations increase resulting in per capita car ownership.

Last year, in China alone, almost 17 million new cars were put on the road, accounting for almost half of the total global increase of new vehicles. Globally, there was a 3.6% increase, the largest since 2000. At the time of writing, the total number of cars produced globally this year was over 20 million. (Source:

In Malta, at the end of March there were 313,027 licensed motor vehicles, 2.4% more than last year. Unfortunately, more than 60% of passenger cars registered over the last three years were second hand. In other words, the majority of the cars registered over this period were not of the latest Euro standard and therefore had higher emission ratings than if they had been new.

What are the implications of this? Almost all these new vehicles require fossil derived fuel, be it diesel or petrol. Although new oil fields have been discovered, the demand for refined fuel on a global scale is expected to continue to outstrip supply; driving up the price of the fuel we pay at the pump.

The situation is not sustainable in the long-term. In fact, same website referred to earlier,, states there are only 15,189 days left or 41.6 years until the world’s oil runs out.

Almost all of the new cars put on the road have internal combustion engines, and although technology and regulations have driven down the emission levels per vehicle the increase in the volume of new vehicles far outweighs the reductions from the employment of new technologies resulting in a net overall increase in carbon emissions in real terms.



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