Do we still need to “fear” electric cars in Serbia?

Are the questions every potential buyer of an electric car asks addressed in Serbia – where will I charge my car and do I need to install ten apps to pay for charging it?

The explosive growth in the number of electric cars in developed markets around the world, from North America, through Europe to China, and even some perhaps unexpected ones like Turkey, shows that e-mobility is not a passing trend but it’s clear to everyone that the era of internal combustion engine vehicles is coming to an end.

In Serbia, we are lagging behind on this issue, but the number of fully electric vehicles is a “statistical error” (officially 1,722 units), and including hybrids, it doesn’t exceed 17,000 vehicles. Yet, we have 2.3 million registered cars. However, the situation is changing here too because some of the problems are being addressed, problems that are assumed to be the reason for the low numbers – primarily the network of public charging stations.

But is it really a problem that there are not enough chargers on highways, or that chargers are different, with special apps and payment methods? 24sedam talked to those dealing with this on a daily basis at the “EV Days” conference in Novi Sad.

– There are many questions usually asked when considering why someone would buy an electric vehicle, from the issue of (still high) prices, government support for purchasing, but also where the purchased car will be charged. The latter is the biggest concern of potential buyers, but this problem is being rapidly addressed here too, both in terms of the number of chargers and charging speed, and it should no longer be the determining factor for buyers – says Professor Boris Dumnić from the Faculty of Technical Sciences in Novi Sad, organizer of the third “EV Days” conference.

Peter Gavranović, Vice President of the “OMR Group,” agrees with Professor Dumnić. The group includes companies for the sale, leasing, and insurance of such vehicles, as well as chargers.

– People “fear” electric cars because of logistical issues; they fear they won’t have where to charge or that they’ll be “stranded.” But now we already have enough solutions for every type of user. Citizens will charge their cars at home or at work, companies in their yards, and everyone at an increasing number of public chargers on roads, in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants… In combination with all of this, people can use their vehicles without fear – Gavranović points out.

We have everything we need for e-mobility in Serbia.

The technology is already here, and there will be “more public chargers than petrol stations” too, says Vukašin Bjelić from the “Fleet Management Team,” who represents two charger manufacturers and also has his own “e-Drive” application.

– The interest is enormous, and we are somewhat surprised by the speed of the transition to e-mobility and the number of inquiries for chargers of all types. We offer both AC and DC chargers, i.e., “fast” and “slow” ones.

But even the network of public chargers is not a problem because basic charging is “at home,” either in a home garage or at a company headquarters. After a night’s charging of five or six hours on a slow charger, you’ll have more than enough power, and you’ll only need public chargers for longer trips. And the cost savings are significant. Charging at home to cover 100 kilometers costs 200 dinars, and at a fast public charger up to 700, or less than three liters of diesel – explains Bjelić.

Bjelić says that the second, or rather two problems that plagued drivers, have been solved: different apps for charging from different charger networks and payment through them.

– We have the e-mobility application “e-Drive,” which was the first developed in the domestic market and through which you can see all the stations in the largest global network “Hubject.” Also, all those who install public chargers through us are immediately visible globally. With this application, you can charge your electric vehicles at more than 100 stations in Serbia, pay with a credit card, and receive a domestic fiscal receipt, which is not the case with many other applications here. So, there are no longer any technical barriers to buying an electric car and enjoying it in Serbia – concludes Vukašin Bjelić.