FAQs



What is the difference between battery electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles?​

Is an Electric Vehicle (EV) less safe and more vulnerable to damage than a traditional Internal Combustion (IC) vehicle?
What can happen if an electric car drives into heavy rain or into a puddle?
What are the total costs of maintaining electric vehicles (excluding insurance)?
What are the costs which are to be factored in to own such vehicles regarding Taxation, Licensing and Insurance for an electric vehicle?
Is the vehicle easily recharged?
Where are the public electric charging points here in Malta?
How can I make use of a charging point?
What is the average range which such a vehicle guarantees?
Do electric cars have the same speed and performance as traditional gas-engine vehicles?
How far can I drive before having to recharge my electric vehicle?
How fast can an electric car go? 
​​Refuelling my car takes around 3 minutes (from arriving at the fuel station to driving back out again), while charging a car will take hours. Sure there are some cars which claim they can be charged in half an hour, but even that is too long, and what they don't tell you is that fast charging a battery reduces its lifetime. So charging my car faster would mean I end up needing battery replacement sooner. Is this true?
How many PV panels would I need to install on the roof to be able to charge the EV?
How well do electric vehicles do in winter?
How long do batteries last, and how much does it cost to replace them?
Doesn't the damage to the environment done by producing electricity outweigh the benefits of reducing gasoline and diesel consumption?​


Definitions

What is the difference between battery electric vehicles and hybrid electric vehicles?
Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) also known as Electric Vehicles (EV) are vehicles which use only electricity as a source of propulsion.  A BEV must be plugged in to an electricity source, normally the electricity grid, to obtain energy to propel the vehicle with a range which is normally limited by the battery pack and the charge contained therein. Electric Vehicles produce zero harmful exhaust.  EVs can provide Carbon Neutral Transportation if they are charged using a Renewable Source of Energy including wind farms and photovoltaic plants.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) have a greater fuel reduction potential than most of the current hybrid vehicles. The main difference in these types of vehicles is that they have an internal combustion engine that provides electricity to the electric motor.  This electric motor can either assist the internal combustion engine (in parallel HEVs) or is the sole mechanical link to the wheels (in series HEVs).  What makes a PHEV different from a HEV is its ability to charge the batteries by plugging the vehicle in.  This feature has the advantage of allowing the vehicle to run for some distance without running the internal combustion engine at all.

Range Extender Electric Vehicles (REEV) are different than the full Electric Vehicles by adopting a compact fuel-powered generator whose sole purpose is to supply electricity when one wants to drive beyond the range of the battery.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (HFCEV) use electricity to power motors located near the vehicle’s wheels and they produce their primary electricity using a fuel cell which in turn is powered by hydrogen-filled tanks.  The Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles produce zero harmful exhaust emissions; the only emission is water in the form of steam through the exhaust pipe and are powered with hydrogen. HFCEV can provide Carbon Neutral Transportation if the Hydrogen production process is done through a Renewable Source of Energy like Hydroelectric Power generation, wind farms and photovoltaic plants.

On the other hand, Internal Combustion Engine Vehicles (ICE), (normal cars) utilise combustion, also known as burning, which is the basic chemical process of releasing energy from a fuel and air mixture.  In an internal combustion engine (ICE), the ignition and combustion of the fuel occurs within the engine itself. The engine then partially converts the energy from the combustion to work. The engine consists of a fixed cylinder and a moving piston. The expanding combustion gases push the piston, which in turn rotates the crankshaft and ultimately, through a system of gears in the powertrain, drives the vehicle’s wheels. Typically an ICE is fed with fossil fuels like natural gas or petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel fuel or fuel oil.

Safety

Is an Electric Vehicle (EV) less safe and more vulnerable to damage than a traditional Internal Combustion (IC) vehicle?

Manufacturers of EV’s must meet all international safety requirements. The manufacturers have an obvious vested interest in the success and sustainability of the EV industry and so demonstrating that these vehicles are safe is a top priority. EV’s abide by the same safety regulations as all other vehicles. They are safer when you consider that they do not carry around combustible fuel. If a full tank of fuel is ruptured, it adds a great deal of danger to a rescue situation, just as a ruptured battery pack or exposed power line presents a risk. Most electric and hybrid cars have extensive safety systems that automatically shut off the power and isolate the battery packs when they detect a collision or a short circuit. Circ​uit breakers, often located in a compartment under the hood, trip and disconnect the flow of power in the event of an electrical surge or a short circuit. If a car is submerged in w​ater, and some of that water gets into the electrical system, the circuit breakers trip. Even simply shutting down the car interrupts the flow of power from the batteries to the motor, so the high-voltage cables that connect them are left without power. For extra safety, the high-voltage cables are coloured bright orange - a visual indicator to avoid contact. The suspension system in EV’s is identical to the traditional IC vehicles and so the EV is as reliable / vulnerable as an IC in this regard.
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What can happen if an electric car drives into heavy rain or into a puddle?​

All cars have batteries and electric systems, yet they don't short out or shock anyone in the rain. Even if you get water on the battery terminals, it generally just causes corrosion, not an immediate catastrophic effect. In fact, in several fuel propelled models, the 12-volt battery is mounted behind the front tire, near the bottom of the car, where it is frequently exposed to water and other road debris.

Hybrid and EV batteries are different. They're larger, have more cells and contain nickel-metal hydride instead of lead-acid. In the most typical configuration, the batteries are placed behind the rear seat, sometimes in an enclosed section near the trunk. In certain models, the battery pack is underneath the rear seat, bolted to a structural cross member. In others, the battery pack is mounted flush to the back of the rear seat. Basically, in a typical electric or hybrid car, the battery pack is usually nowhere near an area where it could get splashed with water from the road.

On the other hand, in some designs the battery pack is mounted near the bottom of the car. These vehicles have a battery pack encased in a sealed metal shell. The shell is electrically isolated from current flowing from the batteries and usually covered in carpet or with an interior panel. Even though the shell is metal, if it does get wet, it's treated to resist corrosion. In the event that water does actually get inside the shell, there's still not much to worry about. The nickel-metal hydride batteries used in current hybrids and electric cars are maintenance-free sealed cells, so nothing gets in or out. The chemicals inside are designed to form a gel, so they won't spill even if the batteries are ruptured in a crash. Under normal operating conditions, it's pretty much impossible for water to come into contact with the batteries themselves. The high-voltage lines that carry the current are similarly protected and insulated. 
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Running Costs

What are the total costs of maintaining electric vehicles (excluding insurance)?​

The total cost of ownership of an electric vehicle using current technology is typically less than an internal combustion engine vehicle. No tune-ups, oil changes, coolants, mufflers are required.  Electric motors generally are expected to last over a million miles.  EVs also have lower maintenance costs. Consider that an electric motor has a handful of moving parts (the shaft plus bearings). The internal combustion engine has hundreds of moving parts that require oil, coolant and filter changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. An electric vehicle motor will generally require one yearly check up to top off brake fluids and lubricate bearings. Once every few months battery connections should be checked for snugness. The cost of electricity is much lower than fuel (petrol and diesel). EV owners may need to replace their battery during a 10 year period, depending on the type of battery. Tires, brakes and suspension, of course, are not basically different from those on any vehicle. 

Example of average annual operational cost:

Electric Car
Consumption per km travelled: 0.25 kWh/km

Cost per kilometre: € 0.04*
Annual Average electricity cost: € 263.08
Annual average maintenance cost: € 69.15
Annual average licence fees: € 10.00
Total average cost/year:  € 342.23

Petrol Car
Consumption per Km travelled: 0.07 litres/ Km​
Cost per kilometre: € 0.09*
Annual Average fuel cost: € 591.93

Annual average maintenance cost: € 1,009.03
Annual average licence fees: € 217.03​
Total average cost/year:  € 1,817.09

Total annual savings: € 1,474.86
*based on fuel and electricity costs at the time of writing​

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What are the costs which are to be factored in to own such vehicles regarding Taxation, Licensing and Insurance for an electric vehicle?​

The major benefits of a (fully) electric vehicle over a normal vehicle (fuel based) are:

  • Much cheaper registration tax upon registering electric vehicles
The registration tax of normal vehicles is calculated on the Euro Standard, CO2, Particulate Matter (diesel engines only) and Length. The following formula is used: (RV x CO2 x %) + (RV x length (mm) x %). The RV refers to the registration value of the vehicle (based on the CIF).

Now, since the electric vehicles have no emissions, the first part of the formula is not applicable and therefore the registration tax of an EV is calculated solely upon the length, the percentage according to the length and the registration value. 

The following is the Registration Tax formula for (fully) electric vehicles:
​​Length​​​ Rate
0 up to and including 3450mm Length x 0.0020% x RV
More than 3450mm up to and including 3640mm Length x 0.0022% x RV
More than 3640mm up to and including 3770mm Length x 0.0024% x RV
More than 3770mm up to ​and including 4030mm Length x 0.0026% x RV
More than 4030mm​ up to and including 4370mm​ Length x 0.0028% x RV
More than 4370mm up to and including 4570mm Length x 0.0030% x RV
More than 4570mm up to and including 4770mm Length x 0.0032% x RV
More than 4770mm
Length x 0.0034% x RV

To give a practical example, we offer this Case Scenario for a vehicle whose registration value is € 20,000 and whose length is 3,400mm.

In this case the first formula (from the above) would be applicable (according to its length), i.e. Length x 0.0020% x RV. Hence the calculation for the Registration Tax in this example would be as follows: 3400 x 0.0020% x 20,000 = € 1,360.00. If the vehicle was fuel powered, you would have to add the other part of the formula (RV x CO2 x %) and the cost would obviously be greater.
  • The Road licence fee of an electric vehicle is fixed as at € 10, whilst that of a petrol vehicle with high emission CO2 standards may reach a maximum of € 1,100 annual road licence fees and that of a diesel engine with  high CO2 emissions and high Particulate Matter emissions may reach a maximum of € 1,210 annually.​
  • Currently, the government is offering a grant of € 4,000 for any individual who wants to buy an electric vehicle; and a € 7,000 grant for those who want to buy an electric vehicle and scrap an old car which is at least 10 years old. (All details on the current Government Grants can be found here). No restriction was included in the Electric Vehicles Grant Scheme about the origin of the electric vehicle. It may hence be imported from a non-EU country. In such a situation it is being recommended for the client to contact the Customs Department to verify on any Customs fees that may be applicable.​
  • VRT applies for both electric and normal vehicles. Nonetheless it is expected that electric vehicles would hold fewer service costs than that for normal vehicles.
  • 18% VAT (on CIF amount) applies on all vehicles which are either brand new; or have been registered abroad for less than 6 months or have less than 6,000KMs mileage. (Note that the grant referred to above offers the possibility for an individual to purchase an electric vehicle which has been registered abroad for no more than 24 months and has no more than 12,000Km mileage).

In summary, to register an electric vehicle the following costs would be applicable:

    1. Registration Tax calculated @ (RV x length (mm) x %) as per table above.
    2. 15 Registration fee (standard fee)
    3. 50 Inspection fee (solely for used vehicles and not brand new ones – standard fee)
    4. € 10 Road licence fee
    5. Plates Fee - € 70 for random generated plates; € 200 for personalised plates (3 letter 3 number format), and € 1500 for customized plates (word up to 9 characters)
    6. 18% VAT if applicable.
    7. Customs fees if applicable.
  • Insurance is not different 

To view another example and a comparison between the costs to register an electric car and the cost to register a petrol/diesel vehicle, please click here​


Recharging

Is the vehicle easily recharged?​

These cars are all adapted to connect with household electricity supply points (normal three pin socket outlets) to enable recharging, through 1-phase as well as with 3 phase outlets.

Where are the public electric charging points here in Malta?
List of public charging points already installed or will be installed in the near future*
​Loc​​ality Location
​​Attard Near San Anton / B'Kara Road​
​Balzan Pjazza Bertu Fenech​
​Birgu Triq fuq tal-Ħawli
Birżebbugia ​Triq San Patrizju
​B'Kara Triq il-Vitorja​
​B'Kara Ġnien ta' l-Istazzjon (Fleur de Lys Arriva Interchange​)
​Bormla ​Triq l-Inkurunazzjoni
Buġibba ​Pioneer Road / Triq Ġulju
​Dingli Triq il-Knisja​
​Fgura Wesgħat il-Kunsill ta' l-Ewropa
​Floriana MTI Car Park
Gżira The Strand/Pronovias​
​Kalkara Triq il-Missjoni Taljana​
​Kalkara Triq Ix-Xatt
​Luqa Triq St Andrew
Mellieħa  Triq Salvu Vella 
Mqabba Parish Street
​Mosta Constitution Street
​Naxxar Ġnien Toni Vella 
​Paola Corradino Correctional Facility
​Pieta' (G'Mangia) Pjazza San Luqa 
​Qormi Misraħ il-Granmastri
​Qormi Triq Guże Cardona
​Rabat Domus Romana 
San Ġwann  Vjal ir-Riħan
​Senglea Triq Ix-Xatt
Siġġiewi  Pjazza San Nikola
​Sliema Qui-si-Sana (The Point)
​Pembroke Triq Lewis V.Farrugia (joint bay in front of feeder pillar)
​St. Paul's Bay
Triq it-Trunċiera (Harmony Kiosk)
​Swieqi Triq is-Swieqi (near Ġnien Francis Ebejer)
​Msida / University Faculty of Engineering / Faculty of IT 
​Valletta Mediterranean Conference Centre / Evans Building
​Floriana MTI Car Park II
Żabbar​ Triq il-Labour
Żebbug  Triq Sciortino / Triq Luret Vella
Żurrieq  Triq Dun Ġużepp Żammit
Żejtun  Triq Xatbet l-Andar (San Girgor Church)
M'Xlokk  Adjacent to Football Ground
Marsascala Triq Santa Tereża
Għajnsielem  Mġarr, in front of police station
​Victoria Pjazza Sant. Wistin
​Victoria Triq Fortunato Mizzi
San Lawrenz/Għarb​ Ta' Dbiegi​ Crafts Area
​Munxar Xlendi Parking Area
Żebbug Marsalforn Main Car Park
​Nadur St Peter & St Paul Square – in front of Police Station
Xagħra Outside Ġgantija Temples
​Xewkija Pjazza San Ġwann Battista
​Sannat Sannat Road
​Iklin ​Triq l-Awrikarja
​St. Julian's ​​Triq Lewis V.Farrugia
*This list is provisional and does not mean that locations might not change in the future. Meanwhile, the Ministry continuously takes note of complaints received for alternative solutions if inconveniences are caused.

For the interactive map with all charging locations, together with the availability to book online, please visit http://www.electricvehiclesmalta.eu/chargingstations

How can I make use of a charging point?
In order to make use of these charging points, interested users must contact the operator on info@solarsolutions.com.mt

Are the costs of charging an electric car lower than refuelling with the traditional fuel? 
Electric vehicles can typically be charged overnight from any regular household outlet, and it takes approximately the same amount of energy as it does to heat a 40 gallon hot water tank.  Charging points in public places are also being installed and  these can provide up to 220/240 volts—effectively cutting charging time in half—and the network of such stations is ever-expanding. Locally, the charge per unit of domestic electricity is €0.161. Given that a full battery charge requires 28 units and this gives a range of around 100 km, one can come up with the costs according to the use and style of driving of the driver.
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Performance and Range

What is the average range which such a vehicle guarantees?
Different models give different ranges, but due to its size and topography, Malta is one of the few countries in the world where the range is no problem at all due to the size of the island itself. A full battery charge normally provides between 90 to 140 km and this is also dependent on the load carried and style of driving. Most people drive fewer than 80 kilometres a day - well within the range of most electric vehicles. You can recharge your vehicle once you get home. There are also recharging points being installed in fifty places around Malta and Gozo that you could use to give your batteries a boost if needed. Remember also that EV’s have an inverter and so this in itself recharges the battery when going downhill.
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Do electric cars have the same speed and performance as traditional gas-engine vehicles?
Yes, top speeds for EV’s are comparable to similarly sized gas engine vehicles. In fact, vehicles powered by electric motors enjoy the benefit of high torques and get up to travelling speed very quickly.
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How far can I drive before having to recharge my electric vehicle?
Range is also affected by road conditions and driving habits, but the current average range is between 90 – 140 km, depending on the car brand and model. Drivers familiar with EVs have adopted driving methods that minimize power usage, such as coasting to a stop, dramatically stretching out distance travelled on a full charge.
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How fast can an electric car go?
This largely depends on the vehicle’s make and model and the type of electric motor powering it, but highway-capable electric vehicles have comparable rates of speed – estimated at up to 140 kilometres per hour – and acceleration to those powered by internal combustion engines. Like sub-compacts, smaller electric vehicles have lower rates of speed and acceleration.
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Refuelling my car takes around 3 minutes (from arriving at the fuel station to driving back out again), while charging a car will take hours. Sure there are some cars which claim they can be charged in half an hour, but even that is too long, and what they don't tell you is that fast charging a battery reduces its lifetime. So charging my car faster would mean I end up needing battery replacement sooner. Is this true?
Any battery needs to be well used and maintained, whether it's installed on a mobile phone, laptop and nonetheless an EV. Remember that you can get quite a lot of charge back on the downhill and from braking, whereas you recover nothing from an IC engine. Therefore, wise battery usage will curb the need for any frequent fast (emergency) charging.
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How many PV panels would I need to install on the roof to be able to charge the EV?
You would need at least 10 x 230W panels. 
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How well do electric vehicles do in winter?
The primary effect of cold weather on electric cars is a reduction in their range: one vehicle that was tested dropped from a range of 155 km on a warm day to just over 100 km average in the winter, and approximately 75 km in extreme cold weather (-25C). However, the moderate climate conditions in Malta where the temperatures do not fall below 5°C exclude any negative effect of weather conditions on the EV battery system.

Battery Life

How long do batteries last, and how much does it cost to replace them?
Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries can last up to 10 years or longer. These and lithium-manganese have inherent safety advantages and provide more years of service. Electric vehicle batteries are usually covered by a minimum of 8-year manufacture warranty but the batteries can last much longer and different terms are provided by different suppliers. 
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Other Questions

Doesn't the damage to the environment done by producing electricity outweigh the benefits of reducing gasoline and diesel consumption?
BEVs are the most energy efficient vehicles to-date. When comparing the energy efficiency of BEVs with that of conventional vehicles and Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, one can see that in the case of conventional vehicles, only 22% of the fuel goes to actual propulsion and when fuel losses are taken into account, this goes down to just 19% of fuel to propel the vehicle. 

On the other hand, the Fuel Cell propelled vehicle, which also uses an electric motor, has an efficiency of approximately 86%.  But the advantage of the latter is greatly diminished due to the electrolysis process, compression, distribution and conversion into electricity which brings efficiency down to 26%.

In the case of the BEV, energy losses are greatly reduced to the extent that almost 70% of the energy is used for vehicle propulsion.

Moreover, the actual start up of combustion engine vehicle takes its toll on emissions since the engine is revving up to produce the internal combustion needed to initiate movement. In the case of an EV, it does not consume energy while stationary except for any accessories, such as air-conditioning, car radio and lights.

Furthermore, energy produced through renewable sources can be used to offset the electricity required for the propulsion of electric vehicles. All renewable sources that feed into the grid contribute to reduce the Emissions Factor (EF) of the charging of all electric vehicles from the grid. It is therefore possible to reduce the electric vehicles’ EF by increasing the proportion of renewables feeding into the grid, no matter the location of the renewable source.  Through the Malta-Italy electricity interconnector, it has become easier to access electricity produced through cleaner methods and which electricity is available on the European grid.  To this effect more distant renewable sources (e.g. North sea wind) can also be used locally to further offset the electric vehicles’ EF.