Encouraging the Expansion of Infrastructure for Charging Electric Vehicles in Central and Eastern Europe

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The European Commission will green-light the largest grant amount for the e-Mobility project by NEXT-E.

At the end of June, the European Commission announced that it would finance the NEXT-E project under its Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) funding instrument, at a recommended amount of EUR 18.84 million in the form of grants approved for the CEF electric vehicle project. As part of the NEXT-E project, 222 multi-standard fast charging stations (50 kW) and 30 ultra-fast charging stations (150-350 kW) will be set up along the core corridor network and several core corridors of the Trans-European Transport Network (TEN-T), create key infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Romania. The project was selected among 152 other successful transport projects from the initial 349 that were submitted for the total amount of the EUR 7.5 billion grant. The NEXT-E Project is a good model for a unified collaboration between the four leading electricity, oil and gas sector groups that have joined forces with automotive manufacturers to create an interoperable and nondiscriminatory network of electric vehicles charging stations as a viable alternative to the existing ICI network (the network of vehicles with internal combustion). The consortium comprises the E.ON Group companies (Zapadoslovenská energetika from Slovakia, E.ON Czech Republic, E.ON Hungary, E.ON Romania), MOL Group companies (representing subsidiaries in all six countries), HEP Group in Croatia, PETROL (in Slovenia and Croatia), Nissan, and BMW.

The NEXT-E consortium will support national e-mobility plans, as well as the strategy of electric vehicles in the region expansion, developing sustainable vehicle charging solutions, assessing renewable energy integration and introducing innovative business processes and consumer packages with the aim of reducing oil dependence and contributing to reducing CO2 emissions in Europe. Close cooperation will be established with transport ministries, the European Commission, and policy makers to ensure the application of lessons learnt in an effective pan-cohesion implementation of the electric vehicle charging infrastructure. The project will present a draft of the best strategy and the most effective approach to charging electric vehicles infrastructure and service use, support the understanding of the use of electric vehicles in the region, linking Western and Pan-Cohesion Europe, and presenting a flawless, enjoyable, long driving experience which will be fully electric. After detailed network plans and ICT studies, a pilot project for the installation of fast and ultra-fast charging stations in two phases will follow, which will result in a Pan-Cohesion Plan and guide for the wider use of electric vehicles. Project activities began in 2017 with multi-annual work on an international plan, scheduled to end by December 31, 2020.

On June 23, 2017, the Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) selected NEXT-E as the project to be funded on the basis of a public call for proposals from October 13, 2016. The formal assessment states the following: “The proposed project in its reduced form has a big importance in promoting CO2 emission reduction, sustaining mobility and intermodal connectivity. The project has been developed and is expected to achieve positive effect and results as a solid foundation for decision-making and strategy for the future development of a complete network infrastructure for charging electric vehicles in Eastern Europe.” Funds have been approved under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF), a key EU funding instrument that targets infrastructure investment. The Commission proposes investing EUR 2.7 billion in 152 key transport projects to support competitive, clean and connected mobility in Europe.


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