Central Eastern Europe - Hub for E-Mobility & Battery Industry?

News – Juli 17, 2023

Central and Eastern Europe is a crucial production market for the mobility transition. This was underlined by Patrik Krizansky, Vice President of AVERE and Director of SEVA, the Slovak Electric Vehicle Association at the Power2Drive Conference in June. However, he sees great potential in heavy-duty transport.

The Central Eastern European market (CEE region) is becoming increasingly important for e-mobility. Poland, for example, has become the largest battery exporter in the European Union in recent years, and is ranked second worldwide behind China. Hungary is also experiencing strong growth in this segment, ranking fourth worldwide. This is likely to continue, as large investments have already been announced in Poland, and the same is true for Hungary.

"We need about 300 gigawatt hours of battery capacity for our cars in Europe today, which will grow to three or four times that in five years. They will be manufactured mainly in this region. Unfortunately, market penetration in Eastern Europe is currently still lacking. When we look at Scandinavia and the western part of Europe, we see that most cars are registered in the northwest," says Krizansky.

Investments in billions

The investments especially in Central Eastern Europe are huge, especially in the battery sector they are in the billions. Well-known giants from Asia such as LG, CATL and Samsung, but also European companies such as Porsche or Mercedes-Benz are investing in the construction of production facilities for battery cell production, battery assembly or recycling.

The region also plays an important role worldwide with regard to the production of passenger cars. No other country in the world produces more cars per capita than Slovakia. The Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia and Romania are among the other countries with high vehicle production capacity. This is currently still evident in exports in particular, while there is still potential for optimization on the domestic market.

In the south and east of the CEE region, the share of e-vehicles in fleets is still below one percent. The country with the largest e-car fleet is Poland, with around 48,000 e-vehicles. With a total vehicle fleet of over 20 million cars, the share of BEVs here is currently still very low. Krizansky sees growth here to around 300,000-400,000 e-cars in the coming years, according to forecasts. This is to be ensured by ongoing subsidy programs in Poland.

Charging infrastructure in Central Eastern Europe

Currently, there are about half a million charging stations in Europe. If you look at the number of installed charging stations, 60% of all charging stations are located in three countries: The Netherlands, Germany and France.

Poland is currently experiencing a dynamic change and transition. Here, growth from the current few thousand to tens of thousands of chargers is expected within a few years. In Slovakia, most charging stations will be subsidized in the next two or three years. There, 50 million euros will be allocated for public charging stations, which will be installed in cities, businesses and also along highways. The Czech Republic is also experiencing growth. Hundreds of public charging stations were built there in 2022. The number of stations will continue to increase next year, with ultra-fast charging stations being the trend.

Of course, there are still some problems in the CEE region, but they are not unique. There are far too few e-vehicles on the road, which makes it difficult for charging station operators to operate and do business due to the lack of utilization. However, the current growth also shows that Central Eastern Europe is only a few years behind the Netherlands and Germany.

Huge potential in heavy duty transport as well

Poland is also the largest operator of trucks and has the largest truck fleet within the EU. It is also home to the second-largest logistics provider in Europe. Krizansky sees huge potential here for building ultra-megawatt charging stations on highways.
The biggest bottleneck at the moment, and this applies not only to Central Eastern Europe, is the grid connection. The lack of grid capacity here needs to be addressed promptly with some regulatory changes. What is needed is an expansion and modernization of the grid infrastructure before charging stations can be installed.

You can find the appropriate Recording of the Power2Drive Europe Conference in the login area of The smarter E Digital.

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