Italy leads revolt against EU push for electric vehicles

Italy is leading the revolt against European Union plans to tighten emissions limits and push drivers towards electric vehicles (EVs), with Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni pledging to defend EU jobs automobile industry.

Meloni’s coalition took power last October and immediately tried to thwart EU efforts to ban the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2035, something his predecessor Mario Draghi had backed.

Italy has argued that the EU should not impose a total switch to electric cars, but should also allow the sale of vehicles running on biofuels as well as other traditional sources.

The pushback failed and the EU continued the crackdown in March even as Meloni said it was “unreasonable” to ban new combustion engines.

Now Meloni is trying a different approach in a bid to support Italy’s nearly 270,000 direct or indirect employees in the automotive sector, which accounted for 5.2% of GDP in 2022.

The European Automotive Suppliers Association (CLEPA) has warned that the switch to all electric cars could lead to more than 60,000 job losses in Italy by 2035 for automotive suppliers alone.

AFP reports that the Italian government this week changed its fight to directly oppose planned ‘Euro 7’ pollutant standards, joining seven other EU member states – including France and Poland – in demanding that Brussels removes the new limits.

“Italy is leading the way, our positions are increasingly divided,” said Enterprise Minister Adolfo Urso, a fervent defender of national industry in the face of what he called an “ideological vision” of the climate change.

The EU plan “is clearly wrong and even unnecessary from an environmental point of view”, added Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, of the League party which shares power with Italy’s Meloni Brothers, according to the AFP report.

American autoworkers have already expressed dismay at the push to get rid of internal combustion engines altogether in the name of green ideology.

Drivers in Italy seem to agree given the scarcity of infrastructure available to support electric vehicles.

The country has just 36,000 electric charging stations, compared to 90,000 for the Netherlands, a country a fraction of the size of Italy.

“There is no craze for electric cars in Italy,” Felipe Munoz, an analyst at automotive data firm Jato Dynamics, told AFP. “Offer is meager, with only one model being made by domestic automaker Fiat.”

Electric cars charge up at a hub in downtown Milan on March 23, 2023. Italy has just 36,000 electric charging stations, compared to 90,000 in the Netherlands, a country a fraction of the size. (GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

For its part, legendary Italian automaker Ferrari has no plans to phase out combustion engines and go all-electric or hybrid anytime soon.

As Breitbart News reported, it has already promised to continue making the eight- and 12-cylinder engines it has made its trademark through at least the late 2030s.

The head of the Italian manufacturer, Benedetto Vigna, told the BBC in an interview that it would be “arrogant” to dictate to customers what they can buy while departing from the company’s heritage.

Rather, Ferrari wants to honor its history of high-performance cars using traditional propulsion methods.

Benedetto Vigna, CEO of Ferrari NV, said “I don’t want to be arrogant and impose a choice on our customer”, explaining why the legendary manufacturer will continue to manufacture models equipped with internal combustion engines rather than “green” alternatives . . (Francesca Volpi/Bloomberg via Getty)

Vigna pointed to the move as a sign the technology was changing and denied it would compromise the company’s environmental credentials.

“I don’t want to be arrogant and impose a choice on our client,” he said.

“It’s the customer who has to choose whether they want an ICE (internal combustion engine), a hybrid or an electric car.”

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