Have you bought an electric vehicle in the past year and been waiting for over six months to receive the electric vehicle grant from Transport Malta? You’re not alone.
Grants intended to encourage the public to purchase EVs have reportedly been delayed by months, causing issues not just for consumers, but also for car dealers.
First, a customer goes to buy an EV from a car dealer. They generally present a price with the grant included, however, the customer usually pays the price excluding the grant and makes an agreement with the car dealer that they would pay the difference of the grant within six months.
In other words, the customer has a six-month interest-free credit from the car dealer.
The customer then applies for the grant for new electric vehicles and waits for two letters from Transport Malta. The first one confirms that they are eligible for the financial incentive, and the second letter informs them of how much money they are expected to receive that will be transferred to their bank account directly.
Once they received the grant, they then pay off the remaining credit they have with the car dealer.
However, whether this whole process is completed within six months is debatable.
BusinessNow.mt has spoken to a few individuals who have yet to receive the grant over six months after applying. A Facebook group community for EV enthusiasts show multiple posts of individuals waiting many months to receive the first letter.
One of the individuals which spoke with this newsroom applied for the grant in August 2022, and received the first letter in January 2023. When asked whether they’ve yet received the second letter, at time of writing they confirmed that they have not, meaning they’ve been waiting a total of seven months so far since they applied for the grant.
The delay in receiving funds is already an issue in itself, but what also needs to be factored in is the fact that several motorists bought their EVs with the six-month interest-free credit from car dealers.
Once the six months elapse, car dealers have to start chasing customers for the unsettled balance.
A motorist who bought an EV from a local car dealer shared a letter with this newsroom that they received, which effectively gives them two options: pay off the unsettled balance out of pocket (which can be up to €11,000), or start paying interest on it. The individual who shared the letter had said that they’re going to bite the bullet and pay it off out of pocket.
Unfortunately, there’s little car dealers can do in this situation since the decision to pay out the grant lies solely in the hands of Transport Malta.
However, this understandably is a concern for them as well, since they have to take on increased liabilities for longer than they intend.
This newsroom reached out to Transport Malta for an explanation for the delay multiple times however at the time of writing they have yet to give a response.
Transport Malta has however recently relaunched the same scheme for 2023, but it is unclear whether a renewed budget will accelerate approval times if the issue is rooted elsewhere.
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