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MONEY

EXPLAINED: How you could save up to €4000 on a new electric scooter in Italy

The Italian government has released new financial incentives for those buying eco-friendly motorcycles and scooters. We take a look at what you can claim and how it works.

Electric motorcycles at the 78th edition of the International Bicycle and Motorcycle exhibition
Customers looking to purchase a new electric motorcycle can now claim a 40-percent discount thanks to Italy’s ‘ecobonus’. Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Italy’s famed ‘ecobonus’ is officially back and so are a number of generous financial incentives for those looking to purchase greener motorcycles and scooters. 

The Italian government reopened the window to claim this popular bonus on Wednesday, after months of bureaucratic impasse caused by the early exhaustion of all available funds. 

The motorcycle discount, one of several national measures aimed at reducing CO2 emissions by 2030, proved so popular that the original 10 million euros in funding was used up by the start of summer.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How you can claim Italy’s auto bonus for a new car

The discount scheme has now been refinanced to the tune of 20 million euros. Here’s a look at how this ‘bonus’ works and who can claim it.

How much could you save?

Firstly, incentives only apply to the purchase of electric or non-electric Euro-5 (i.e. with the lowest possible emissions) vehicles falling under the Italian Le category, which broadly includes all types of two-, three- or four-wheel motorcycles. 

A man parks his scooter by the Teatro alla Scala in downtown Milan

The bonus applies to electric and non-electric Euro-5 motorcycles falling under Italy’s ‘Le’ road vehicle category. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

Secondly, the size of the discount available through the bonus depends on whether the buyer chooses to replace their old bike with a new eco-friendly one or buys a new vehicle from scratch.

Those who trade in their old motorcycle for a new one are entitled to a 40-percent discount, up to a maximum of:

    • 4000 euros (VAT excluded) for the purchase of electric vehicles
    • 2500 euros (VAT excluded) for the purchase of non-electric Euro-5 ones

The vehicle destined for dismantling must:

    • have been owned by the buyer or a member of their household for 12 months or longer
    • belong in the Le category as defined by the Italian Codice della Strada (Highway Code)
    • have an environmental rating of Euro 4 or lower

READ ALSO: ‘Expect the unexpected’: What you need to know about driving in Italy

If you cannot include an old vehicle in the deal, you’re entitled to a 30-percent discount, up to a total of 3000 euros (VAT excluded). The discount is only applicable to the purchase of fully electric motorcycles, meaning that it does not apply to non-electric, Euro-5 vehicles.

How do you claim?

Luckily, claiming the bonus is a fairly straightforward process for the customer.

As with previous incentives, it’ll be up to individual dealerships to request the bonus from Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) and apply the discounts on all relevant sales.

A Piaggio employee assembles a Vespa scooter

Individual dealerships will request the bonus and then be reimbursed by manufacturers. Photo by Indranil MUKHERJEE / AFP

So all customers need to do is to choose and buy an eligible vehicle and, should the scrapping of an old vehicle be part of the deal, deliver it to the dealership.

Dealerships will arrange the dismantling of old vehicles, and any discounts applied to their sales will be reimbursed by manufacturers (in turn, they receive reimbursement from the Italian government in the form of tax credit).

Those who claim the bonus must maintain ownership of their newly bought vehicle for at least 12 months, a ministerial decree dated April 6th 2022 specifies.

The bonus is officially meant to be available until December 31st 2022. However, the popularity of the incentive, the available funds might be used up well before then, causing the bonus to expire ahead of time.

For further details on Italy’s motorcycle bonus, refer to MISE’s online platform.

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For members

STRIKES

Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

Transport strikes are a frequent occurrence in Italy, but how disruptive are they usually and what else should you consider if you’re planning to travel? Here’s what you need to know.

Should you travel in Italy when there’s a strike on?

Let’s be honest: strikes in Italy are hardly unusual. 

If you’re wondering whether the news about upcoming transport strikes means you should rethink your travel plans, here are some things to bear in mind.

Travel disruption

Strikes are of course intended to cause disruption, and in that they’re often pretty effective (Italian workers have had enough practice, after all).

So there is often a possibility that your plane, train, bus or ferry might be delayed or cancelled.

But just because there is a transport strike in the news, don’t assume that everything will be cancelled.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s transport strikes will impact travel on Friday

Unions often target transport services because these are highly visible, and these are also the type of strikes that tend to get international media coverage, because they affect visitors to Italy.

But strikes in Italy vary hugely in how much disruption they cause, to which services, and where.

It also depends on which unions are involved – the Italian union landscape is pretty complex and divides along political lines so that, for example, train drivers at a single company could be represented by any one of several different unions.

For this reason, strikes only really cause widespread disruption when all or most of the unions agree to strike on the same day. 

Otherwise you’re likely to see some services cancelled but others running as normal. 

If this is the case you will probably be able to get to your destination, it might just take a little more time with unusually crowded trains/buses.

If you have a pre-booked ticket for a cancelled service, you can usually take the next one at no extra charge.

If you’re travelling by plane things are obviously less flexible, and the best thing to do is check with your airline.

In many recent cases, disruption and delays to flights have been caused not by Italian airline staff striking, but by baggage handlers or air traffic control going on strike.

When this happens, again it does not necessarily involve every airport in Italy, or every member of staff at an airport, so it rarely causes as much chaos as you might expect.

And a minimum level of ‘essential’ service is always guaranteed at certain times of day when there’s a strike on.

Check strike timetables

Essential workers such as transport workers are required to give notice of their intention to strike, which means that some operators create ‘strike timetables’ of the services that will be running, or sometimes lists of cancelled flights, which are usually available at least 24 hours in advance. 

You can use these to see what is running and whether it’s worth travelling or not.

With strikes being so heavily regulated in Italy, the transport ministry also helpfully compiles an official strike calendar, which you can find here.

While the official list of strikes sometimes looks long at first glance, you’ll notice that many of these events affect only one small part of the country, or that only members of one union are participating.

Countless small, localised strikes happen in Italy every year, and most of them barely get any media coverage at home, never mind internationally. 

A nationwide, 24-hour transport strike is more likely to cause problems for passengers – but again, it all depends where you’re going, at what time, and how.

Unions always claim in advance that their protest will bring the country to a complete standstill. This is generally just a rhetorical flourish that you can probably ignore – check the strike timetables for the full picture. 

You can also check out The Local’s strike section HERE for the latest news on strikes and which services will be affected.

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