19 MARCH 2003

Search all issues

powered by FreeFind

Send Your Feedback!

Electric vehicle production to begin in Malta

- Lm3.2m invested, 500 new jobs expected in five years

In what Economic Services Minister Josef Bonnici described as "an innovative new venture that will seek to develop and tap new technology", Innovative Transport Systems Malta Ltd yesterday inaugurated its operations at the Mosta Technopark, where it will undertake research and development activities on the production of electric-powered vehicles. Finance Minister John Dalli was also present for the launch.
The German firm has made an investment of approximately Lm3.2 million, which is expected to rise further upon expansion of production. Production numbers, meanwhile, are expected to reach some 15,000 units per year by 2008.
In addition to the Technopark facility, another site, comprising a large factory at Hal Far, has been earmarked by the Malta Development Corporation for the company’s production facilities.
Asked yesterday why Malta was chosen for the investment big investment, ITS Chairman Neville Chamberlain commented that there were various reasons including the fact that the Maltese workforce is multilingual, highly skilled, educated, and perhaps most important of all, flexible.
"Crucial is also the fact that Malta was an EU applicant until last week and is now expected to join the Union later next year. This greatly enhances funding opportunities in order for research and development to be carried out on the island," he explains.
He adds, "According to research conducted prior to considering Malta as our production base, we have come across an excellent report on the production levels achieved by Maltese workers compared to European ones. Moreover, there are more university graduates on a pro rata basis, than in many other competitor countries.”
He also insisted that Malta offers easy access to all markets due to its advanced infrastructure and air/shipping connections and is an ideal base to penetrate both European as well as the North African markets and beyond.
The vehicle to be produced is the ‘Innovan’, which is engineered to specifically address the requirements of niche markets mainly in Europe. The promoters are confident that vehicle will be sold in metropolitan cities, where the authorities are actively demanding and mandating clean air transportation services.
Speaking at yesterday’s launch, Profs. Bonnici applauded the fact that ITS will produce electric vehicles in Malta. He explains, "We have all become more conscious about the threat, to the environment and to our health, from vehicle emissions as traffic has continued to increase.
"Wearing one of my other hats, as the Minister responsible for Enemalta, I am proud to have been involved in the decisions to phase out leaded petrol and to switch over to a more environmentally friendly type of diesel, with a much lower sulphur content.
"I am convinced this project will provide our manufacturing sector with yet another tangible and concrete success story that will provide the best advertisement for the future development of our manufacturing sector. Government is convinced that manufacturing is destined to remain one of the pillars of the Maltese economy and we are confident that, with the additional opportunities that will be borne out of EU membership, it can realistically aspire to further employment opportunities and stronger growth prospects."

Copyright © Newsworks Ltd. Malta.
Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, 2 Cali House, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann SGN 02, Malta
Tel: (356) 21382741-3, 21382745-6 | Fax: (356) 21385075 | E-mail