Tesla supercharges the Balkans
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A Tesla Supercharger station. Photo Credit: Tesla

Think about the possibilities of even small steps toward electric driving. As a citizen of the region, there are of course higher priorities, but as a tech person, I have to urge this e-movement

Digjitale

One of the biggest challenges with electrical vehicles is the ever-present range anxiety – the fear that you’ll run out of juice before you reach the next charging station. Elon Musk promised to solve this for Tesla drivers with the Supercharger network, which is spread across the US and Canada, Asia and Pacific and is gradually taking over Europe.

The closest charging station to our region is in Lubljana, Slovenia, while the closest service center is located in Vienna, Austria. When you look at the map and its plans for the future, the Tesla Supercharger network seems to aim for Turkey as the next big market for Tesla, with plans for charging stations in Croatia, Slovenia and then two in Serbia and two in Bulgaria, ending the route with one charging station in Istanbul, thus completing the route of driving throughout Europe into Turkey, with a Tesla.

For 2016, the company aims to open up a supercharging station in Skopje, Macedonia and some more stations in the region, making the electric drive come to life in our Balkan region as well. This certainly means that more companies will join effort to promote and profit from electric driving in the Baltics.

How it works

Superchargers consist of multiple Model S chargers working in parallel to deliver up to 120 kW of direct current (DC) power directly to the battery. Typically, Model S uses its onboard charger to convert alternating current (AC) from a wall charger to DC that’s stored in the battery. As the battery nears full charge, the car’s onboard computer gradually reduces the current to the optimum level for topping off cells. Using a Supercharger is as easy as using a Wall Connector. You simply plug in, walk away and in approximately 30 minutes, you have enough range to get to your destination or the next station. Every Model S with an 85 kWh battery includes Supercharging, and it can be added to any 60 kWh Model S.

Current Balkan infrastructure

Last year a Tesla owned by Sasa Cvetojevic, an entrepreneur working in the health sector, mobile telecommunications and other fields, who also bought a Tesla for the first time in Croatia in 2014, made a tour of the Balkans emphasizing the future of electric cars and showcasing the possibilities of the car, while highlighting the lack of infrastructure to support electric driving, especially in the southern Balkan countries.

Croatia fares better because it has charging stations in cities such as Koprivnica and Biograd, exemplifying the country’s commitment to cleaner forms of road transportation. The charging station, fully financed by EU funds from the ‘Intelligent Energy Europe’ Programme, is just one of the measures being implemented by Biograd to secure a more sustainable future. Koprivnica’s charging stations compliments the city’s recently launched car-sharing system, which includes six electric cars and two hybrid vehicles. The car-sharing system was established as part of the EU-funded CIVITAS [email protected] project. There is also the famous Rimac Automobili, of which we have written about earlier.

Taking a look at other countries’ approach to electric driving, one can see that Macedonia is also part of the CIVITAS [email protected] Project, aiming to support green transportation infrastructure through EU and government funds. However, there is not much happening in Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, or Montenegro.

That being said, Bulgaria already has more than 10 EV charging stations in Sofia and some other cities, while private companies like FullCharger Bulgaria have already been involved in creating necessary electric infrastructure for future cars. Romania also has been making progress on EV infrastructure since 2010, and has ongoing projects like e-Mobility Romania that aim to expand the usage of EV infrastructure and electric cars.

Greece is set to have charging stations installed and leased by the Greek energy provider PPC, including sites at the Greek Ministry of Environment, Energy and Climate Change, energy regulators and at the PPC’s headquarters. The installation of the charging stations is part of the EU-funded Green eMotion project, which aims to prepare the foundation for the mass deployment of Europe-wide electro-mobility.

EV infrastructure in Kosovo and Albania

Thinking towards the future with green and sustainable energy resources for transportation is a task for both countries. There is no electric car registered on either side, nor does either side have supporting infrastructure. However, one can see hybrids like a Prius on both sides, and a local bank in Kosovo has bought such cars to promote environment friendly cars. But it is unknown whether or not they charge the cars, which means they probably use conventional electric power sources from the city grid if necessary.

Currently, there is no law nor regulation by either country that urges people to buy electric cars like in other European countries where you get purchases subsidized by the government. One important detail to remember is that almost all of Kosovo’s electric power comes from coal, while Albania’s electric power comes from hydro power, so at least Albania is one step ahead in decreasing air pollution.

Developed countries are supporting companies focused on electric cars, developing infrastructure and amending laws to move towards a better future. Think about the possibilities of just some small steps in this direction. As a citizen of the region, there are of course higher priorities, but as a tech person, I have to urge this e-movement.

This post was originally published in Digjitale

Featured Image Credit: Tesla

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Celik Nimani

About Celik Nimani


Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer at Appsix. Steers the strategic and corporate development of the company. Founder of Digjitale, a leading source for startups and entrepreneurs in Western Balkans since 2012. An entrepreneur by heart, quick-thinker and eagle-eyed for precision.

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