Mobility Portal, Spain
Date: June 21, 2024
New industrial eMobility era in Europe? Krizansky requests “urgent response” to compete with the USA and China
By Lucía Colaluce

New industrial eMobility era in Europe? Krizansky requests “urgent response” to compete with the USA and China

The future of electromobility in Europe hangs in the balance, prompting Patrik Krizansky to advocate for swift action. Can the EU develop an industrial policy that is both attractive and effective?
Patrik Krizansky

With the European Union (EU) elections pending final results, the fate of electromobility on the continent remains speculative. 

In this context, Patrik Krizansky, Vice President of the European Association for Electromobility (AVERE) and Director of the Slovak Electric Vehicle Association (SEVA) outlines the stance that both Europe and Slovakia should adopt in this field during an interview with Mobility Portal Europe.

Patrik Krizansky, Vice President of AVERE and Director SEVA.

“Considering the speed of China and the competition in new investments to the United States (USA), the EU must act much more quickly and work on an attractive industrial policy,” Krizansky comments.

He reveals that following the summer recess, AVERE plans to focus even more on justifying the transformation to e-mobility through the lens of EU competitiveness.   

Krizansky states: “Electric mobility is crucial for the industry, not only for its green benefits but also for economic sustainability.”

“We are excited to engage with MEPs, especially with the potential coalition of the European People’s Party (EPP), Socialists, and Liberals,” he adds.

The urgency highlighted by Krizansky is linked to recent findings from the European Commission, which indicate that battery electric vehicles (BEVs) manufactured in China benefit from unfair subsidies, disadvantaging European producers. 

If no agreement is reached with Chinese authorities, the EU will impose temporary tariffs starting July 4, varying by manufacturer, with the highest for SAIC (38.1 per cent) and the lowest for BYD (17.4 per cent).

Krizansky states: “Generally, a trade war does not help any party. It’s about the industry’s competitiveness, and European automakers need to be competitive with technology, product portfolio, and prices, not shielded from reality by tariffs.”

A trade dispute with China could pose significant challenges for EU member states like Slovakia, whose economy heavily relies on exports to the Asian country. 

Slovakia exported 2.3 billion euros worth of cars to China in 2023.

The automotive industry accounts for over 40 per cent of total exports and indirectly employs over 250,000 people. It contributes 10 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

How might this affect the Central European nation? A potential countermeasure from China could see similar tariffs on exported Slovak cars. 

“This is why I don’t support tariffs per se, as they don’t help the automotive industry in the long run and might have negative repercussions,” explains Krizansky.

However, he ultimately believes that “we stand just at the beginning of real negotiations between the EU and China” and does not expect the provisional measures to become permanent. 

“Both sides should negotiate rather than build barriers,” he declares.

How electromobility is evolving in Slovakia

According to Krizansky, Slovakia is considered “more developed” in terms of charging infrastructure. 

It boasts over 2,000 public charging points, a 47 per cent increase from the previous year across more than 800 locations, developed at least in terms of the proportion of charging stations to vehicles.

However, the adoption of BEVs on the roads is slower compared to Western Europe.

In April, as reported by the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), just 229 new zero-emission cars were registered, a 30.9 per cent increase from the same period last year, but still a low number.

Conversely, Slovakia is advanced in EV production, with the country’s original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) producing electric cars. 

In 2023, all four OEMs manufactured electrified vehicles, with Volkswagen reaching the highest share, at some 28 per cent of EVs out of its production capacity.

By 2026, a fifth OEM, Volvo Cars, will launch its new site in Slovakia with 250 thousand EVs annually.

“The adoption of BEVs on the roads needs to be much faster, and we need to develop more charging infrastructure, particularly on highways, to enable seamless long-distance traveling,” Krizansky asserts.

”This is happening, but not fast enough,” he adds.

Overall, Slovakia has already met the initial capacity target of the EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation (AFIR) and currently exceeds the necessary capacity. 

Krizansky mentions that they are working with the Ministry of Economy on deploying thousands of new charging stations, including those for high-power charging on the highways, aiming to meet targets by 2025 or 2026

There is no specific program for subsidies for electric car purchases at this time, but SEVA is in discussions with the government to launch one.

SEVA’s journey in sustainability

Founded in 2012, SEVA is the voice of the electric mobility industry in Slovakia, currently boasting over 70 members.

They foster relationships among members and focus on four pillars: data collection, advocacy, media campaigns, and networking.

Now, what projects are they currently working on?

In terms of advocacy, the association focuses on charging infrastructure, implementing grants for cities and businesses, and developing points on highways.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Economy, they support deploying thousands of stations over the next two years.

They also review regulatory areas and propose changes to electric mobility laws, aiming to drive the development and transformation of the industry.

Additionally, they examine investments in batteries and support suppliers affected by the transition to electromobility, assisting in the transformation and collaborating on innovations with the companies.

Moreover, they are involved in cross-border projects focusing on transforming the automotive industry with a particular focus on SMEs.

Finally, they conduct media work and promotions for partners and advocate for electric sustainable vehicles through diverse tools including SEVA-organized certification of the E-mobility Friendly Companies (SEVA ELF).

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