E-mobility is the Future, Accessible Through Business

“There will always be people who love gasoline or diesel cars, who enjoy the sound of the engine and the smell of fuel, but I am also confident that there will be an increasing number of those who prioritize economic viability and environmental sustainability,” says Ostoja Mijailović, founder and president of the OMR Group, in an interview with Green News.

Out of 2.3 million registered vehicles in Serbia, only just over 1,700 are electric cars, while with hybrids, that number rises to a still negligible 17,000 vehicles. What are the obstacles to Serbia’s market turning more towards e-mobility?

Electric vehicles are a novelty in our market, and clients still largely perceive them as such. They see them as something new, insufficiently researched, unconfirmed, with infrastructure that still doesn’t provide the desired support. However, things are changing rapidly, and we are now at the end of the period when only premium buyers, people who love innovation, exclusivity, and prestige, are interested in electric vehicles and are willing to pay for them. At this point, companies are already embracing e-mobility because there is an economic basis for it, and companies can easily calculate it when comparing profits and costs. We already have examples of courier services, commercial services with daily deliveries within 200 kilometers, and even the Serbian Post transitioning to electric vehicles because it’s more profitable. What will be interesting is the next step, which is for electric vehicles to be accepted by individuals. So far, the price has played a significant role for individuals, when we get the “electric Panda” from Fiat in Kragujevac, which is expected to cost below 20,000 euros. Concurrently, the network of slow and fast chargers is expanding, and efforts are being made to further inform users about home charging, which is similar to charging your mobile phone overnight.

Yet, it seems people still “fear” electric vehicles?

We need to work a lot on educating users because people have reservations about electric vehicles primarily due to logistical questions. They fear they won’t have a place to charge the battery or that they will get stranded. But even now, we have enough solutions for every type of user. Citizens charge their cars at home or at work, companies in their yards, and everyone at an increasing number of public charging stations on roads, in shopping malls, hotels, restaurants… In combination with all this, people can use their vehicle without fear. Within the OMR Group, we represent top electric vehicle manufacturers, offer chargers from reputable manufacturers, but we realized that we need to offer the user, whether a company or an individual, something called a complete solution. We provide vehicle procurement through leasing, insurance, servicing, car sharing, and the ability to use the vehicle only when needed. The customer no longer wants to spend energy and time finding all this on their own. Therefore, it is certain that electric vehicles will penetrate a larger number of users primarily through the business sector, where people will be guided by economic viability. Once clients realize the benefits, they will decide to opt for electric vehicles to a greater extent.

One of the issues potential

users complain about is paying for battery charging?

Basic battery charging is actually charging that you do “at home,” either in your home garage or at your company headquarters, and payment is made through the electricity bill. After overnight charging of five to six hours, even on a slow charger, you have more than enough electricity, while public chargers are currently only necessary for longer trips. The cost savings are significant. With home charging, driving 100 kilometers costs around 200 dinars, while at a public fast charger, driving up to 100 kilometers costs up to 700 dinars. Paying for charging at a public charger is challenging, but one of the companies within our Group has developed a local application that allows you to charge your electric vehicles at over 100 stations in Serbia, pay via credit card, and receive a domestic fiscal receipt. Therefore, even in that regard, things are moving towards fewer obstacles. With economic viability comes environmental viability.

With economic viability comes environmental viability. Reducing CO2 emissions.

Reducing CO2 emissions is something that all developed countries strive for. European policy is such that soon some forms of economic cooperation will not be possible if your fleet does not have a certain number of zero CO2 emission vehicles. They even go so far as to want to ban the use of non-electric vehicles in some densely populated areas or parts of cities. In our region, we are not yet close to that level, but I believe that will change faster than most can imagine at this moment. Some things will be changed by regulations, and some by changes in people’s habits. Let’s be clear, there will always be people who love gasoline or diesel cars, who enjoy the sound of the engine and the smell of fuel, but I am also confident that there will be an increasing number of those who prioritize economic viability and environmental sustainability.

How important is the source of electricity for electric vehicles?

This question is very important. Just as it is globally important whether we have enough electricity and certain mineral resources for everyone to switch to electric vehicles. For Serbia, it is important where our electricity for electric vehicles comes from because it is desirable that it is not coal but renewable sources. The best evidence of this is the UN data that when a “Tesla” is driven in India, where all electricity comes from coal, it effectively pollutes the environment with 269 grams of CO2 per kilometer, while that number in Norway, where electricity comes from renewable sources, is close to zero.

Source: greennews.rs