These are the trends in electrification for 2024 in Europe and Greece.
On the occasion of its organization 7th Electromobility Conferencewe are talking to its president HAEE (Hellenic Association for Energy Economics), Prof. Spyros Papaefthimiou for developments in the field of electric mobility in Greece and abroad.
Many countries are ending subsidies for electric cars. How do you think this will affect sales of electric cars in general? > It is a fact that the electric cars they continue to be considerably more expensive than conventional ones, not only in Greece, but also worldwide. It is also a fact that Chinese manufacturers are expected to flood the European market, offering vehicles at a reduced price compared to their European counterparts.
Added to the equation are some countries being more mature than others in terms of sales networks, charger deployment and density, charging prices and programs offered, and so on. So to the question of how it is estimated to affect sales, the answer is that it will reduce them, but it depends on the country and whether the subsidies are horizontal or not.
E.g. there is an intention in Germany and France to stop subsidizing vehicles made in China or non-European ones, to stimulate domestic car manufacturers.
Now in our country, any suspension of subsidies – reduction of incentives would have a significantly negative effect, if we think first of all about the long fleet renewal time that our country has, the small disposable income combined with the large difference in electric-conventional prices, but also the still small development of charging infrastructure in the city. So the incentives in Greece should be continued and intensified in conjunction with the development of the respective infrastructures.
With the last Ministerial Decision of December and with the provisions for the time of submission of supporting documents at 45 days from the Admission Decision and the completion of the process up to 8 months after the Admission Decision, it gives the possibility to absorb more resources faster and redistribute reserved resources. So it is in the right direction and acts as a bridge for the next program, Kinoumai Electric 3, which according to the Minister of Transport will be upgraded.
It is certain that the experience of the previous 2 Kinoumai Elektricas will have a positive effect and I believe that the aim will be to make it easier for the beneficiary user to receive the subsidy and to further simplify the process.
Electrification and infrastructure
How do you estimate that the charging infrastructure on the highways will develop, as beyond the axis Athens – Thessaloniki and Athens Ioannina there are serious deficiencies? > The charging infrastructure on the highways is lacking, but I believe that with the increase in electric vehicles and the increase in demand, the development of the infrastructure will intensify, as well as the upgrading of the existing ones with faster chargers.
Of course, there are also intractable problems, such as the Egnatia Road with the lack of PES, but as well as Europe aims to densify the charging infrastructure, with the European Directive AFIRwhich foresees a maximum distance of chargers on the road arteries of 60 kilometers, the corresponding infrastructure will be created there as well.
With the effort made by the government to limit the cost of household electricity, should a similar effort be made to reduce the cost of charging? > Certainly for anyone who charges at home, trying to limit the cost of household electricity will benefit them. Now for public charging, the recent reduction in VAT from 24% to 6% has been a very positive development, which has reduced charging prices across all providers. As the development of public charging and its corresponding use is still small, high prices are observed compared to the corresponding ones abroad.
Of course, abroad and in the more mature electric mobility markets, there are various pricing packages, such as e.g. subscription or non-subscription or depending on the frequency of monthly use. So I think that the increase in interoperability between different charging infrastructures, the many FEFFIO companies operating and the increase in users will increase competition and lower prices.
Do you think we will see more affordable electric cars by 2024? > Certainly over time a reduction in the price difference between electric and conventional vehicles is observed and yes we will see more affordable ones, but with a still high initial value. Of course, the amount of subsidies and the other, financial and non-financial, benefits will also play a big role. It is certain that we will have many new models of vehicles, not only cars, but also for light commercial use.
From what it seems, electrification is entering our daily lives for good, both for private and professional use. What needs to be focused and paid attention to is the proper and rapid development of charging infrastructure but also the rapid resolution of issues such as the recent debate over whether to allow vehicle transportation by ship, which may discourage the driver from the purchase of an electric vehicle.
We will discuss all of the above in 7The Electromobility Conference on Wednesday 24/1 at the Hellenic Automobile Museum in Athens and we are waiting for you all there!
How do you think the market landscape will shape up with the massive influx of Chinese manufacturers? > It is a fact that Chinese cars are already flooding the European market and the EU is willing to put restrictions, mainly on their subsidies, with the aim of boosting domestic vehicle manufacturing. We expect to see whether these restrictions will have an effect, as car manufacturers in the EU are under a lot of pressure to minimize production costs in a few years from now.
So the issue has to be looked at holistically and long-term by the EU by strengthening the domestic car industry, domestic battery manufacturing and raw material mining, so that the market is not shrunk by the encroachment of China and the EU’s dependence on it.