During the Digital Transport Day in Tallinn, partners of the NEXT-E consortium signed a grant agreement with Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) which will enable the building of a charging network for EVs across six countries in Central and Eastern Europe: The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania, a press release informs.
This is the largest grant ever given by the EU’s Connecting Europe Facility for any EV project, amounting to EUR 18.84 million.
The consortium consists of the E.ON Group companies (Západoslovenská energetika in Slovakia, E.ON Czech Republic, E.ON Hungary, E.ON Romania), MOL Group companies (represented via subsidiaries in all six participating countries), Hrvatska elektroprivreda in Croatia, PETROL (in Slovenia and Croatia), as well as Nissan and BMW.
”NEXT-E is an important step for connecting Romania to the main transport routes for electric vehicles, but at the same time represents an opportunity for E.ON to offer new products and services that respond to the wishes and needs to our clients,” Frank Hajdinjak, General Manager of E.ON Romania stated.
The network will be comprised of 222 multi-standard fast chargers (50 kW) and 30 ultra chargers (150-350 kW), and will create a crucial EV charging infrastructure in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia and Romania.
For the first time, drivers across the region will have access to a network of electric chargers that will allow them to get from Bucharest to Prague, for example, relying solely on electricity. According to Camelia Ene, CEO & Country Chairman of MOL Romania, out of the 40 charging stations in Romania, 21 will represent investments made by MOL.
“The electrified automobile market – electric and plug-in hybrid – is in an early stage of development in Romania, but it is growing rapidly. We have already doubled sales of the BMW i3 this year compared to 2016. The electrified car proves to be a good solution for cities, given the environmental impact, efficiency and cost of use, but also the unique driving experience. (…) The NEXT-E project also anticipates the development of electric cars to new segments, such as SAV, as we expect a significant increase in battery capacity in the years to come, “ Wolfgang Schulz, General Manager BMW Group Romania commented.
The deployment of fast chargers is expected to start in 2018, while the installation of the ultra-chargers is planned for 2019 in order to prepare for the arrival of a new generation of long-distance EVs. The full deployment is expected to be concluded by the end of 2020.