The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Transport Malta signs agreement with CAR2GO Israel on electric car-sharing service GoTo

Tuesday, 24 October 2017, 14:56 Last update: about 2 years ago

An agreement between Transport Malta and CAR2GO Israel was signed today, opening the way for the introduction of an electric car-sharing service. The service will operate under the Global brand GoTo - Anytime Anywhere. The company was selected after the Authority issued an international public call with this aim in the last few months.

This concept kicks off fittingly following the announcement of a number of other budget schemes targeted towards catalysing the evolution of our country’s transport system. In his speech, Minister Borg spoke about the importance of a modal shift from the private vehicle to other alternatives as well as the concept of “sharing transport”, both in the face of an obstacle such as traffic congestion and in favour of a cleaner environment.

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CAR2GO Israel will be providing car-sharing services on our island, with a total investment of over €8 million. The fleet will be composed of a mix of vehicles of different classes, including commercial vans, which can be self-driven by paid members from a designated exclusive public car space to another. Transport Minister Borg expressed his satisfaction with the fact that the 150-strong fleet, which will be used in both Malta and Gozo, will be a fully electric one. This positive advancement in our transport system is only enhanced by the fact that the company will invest in 225 charging pillars which means 450 new charging points. Adding these up to the 102 government-owned charging points which are already installed would exceed the EU set national target of 500 for 2020 by 52 points. The Minister added that Malta is expecting to reach this target 2 years ahead of the set deadline.

Borg described this investment as a strategic one, stating that together with the charging point target, the deployment of such a sizeable fleet will also contribute towards Malta’s target to have at least 5000 electric vehicles registered on the road by 2020. This will also be an opportunity for the public to try out an electric car before investing in the conversion from their own private petrol or diesel vehicles to the cleaner and more efficient electric alternative. The Minister went on to say that this new investment by a foreign company will also be generating employment as we will see around 25 persons being employed to manage the service.

These vehicles will only be permitted to park in designated car parking spaces distributed fairly around 40 strategic locations around different towns and villages. The selection of the exact locations will be done by Transport Malta through one-to-one consultation with the respective local councils so as to avoid negative impact on street parking and will focus on locations which suffer from acute parking problems. In fact, consultation with Local Councils had commenced last year through the Local Councils Association and prior to the publication of the tender.

The ministry is introducing this service in a bid to encourage people to share a vehicle when one needs to drive one, rather than purchase a new car or a second car.  From research carried out, it transpires that between 85% to 90% of its lifetime, a private passenger car is not being used and when not garaged it takes up precious road space which otherwise can be utilised better by public transport or bicycle users. Through the use of such services, using a car when you really need to, a would-be car owner will save time and money, spending much less than owning, servicing and operating a personal car.

Members of the service can book a vehicle through a mobile app, other web applications or through a phone booking and will access the vehicle through an RFID card. The service is self-drive and the user will be charged a fee for the duration the car is being used.

Borg said that this initiative falls within the scope of the Malta National Electromobility Platform. The platform was set up in December 2013 between the Ministry for Transport and Infrastructure and Transport Malta with the aim to promote and bring about the electrification of transportation in Malta. Another role that the MNEP has, is to implement the Malta National Electromobility Action Plan (MNEAP) which was also launched together with the Platform in the same year. The MNEAP also includes a number of actions such as policy measures, financial grants, and a roll-out of related infrastructure and pilot projects with a 2020 timeline. The MNEAP is currently being updated to take into account other developments in the sector, including the decarbonisation of land transport in Malta, introducing new and innovative Sustainable Mobility Concepts and the deployment of Intelligent Transport Systems.

The Minister made clear that this service is not to be confused with other car-sharing services which undercut the competitive price structure of current taxi operators. These other services have already been refused by the Government.

 

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