Electric vehicle (EV) sales in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), a region with a population of over 100m people, are forecast by research firm Frost & Sullivan (F&S) to exceed 60,000 pa by 2017.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, '360 Degree Perspective Of The Central And Eastern European Electric Vehicle Industry', finds that  the industry is expected to reach unit shipments of around 62,000 units by 2017, increasing from approximately 245 unit shipments in 2011.  The analysis also suggests that the boost will be both demand- and supply-driven. F&S cites 'increasing demand for convenient, eco-efficient and sustainable mobility solutions predominantly in dynamically developing urban areas as well as due to anticipated optimisation of the supply chain and, therefore, substantial EV cost reductions'.
“Rising personal incomes, the process of urban sprawl and changing mobility preferences in CEE are fuelling the demand for new sustainable solutions in personal mobility,” notes Frost  & Sullivan Senior Consultant Vitaly Belskiy. “This will catalyse the development of the EV market until 2017.”
F&S maintains that there is a 35-40% price reduction potential which can be achieved in 2-3 years when it comes to battery technology, which means cost factors will diminish in impact on the industry’s development.
Frost & Sullivan estimates the EV market to grow at a phenomenal 151 per cent over 2011-2017. The highest growth is expected after 2014-2015 assuming full-scale government incentives – including CO2-based taxation of new vehicles and the ability to use bus lanes which is expected to appeal specifically to corporate fleets – are in place in most countries across CEE.
However, the lack of government support (especially soft incentives, such as the ability to use bus lanes and free parking) in the short-term is expected to restrain industry growth potential, F&S says. Financial subsidies are not expected to have a strong direct impact on the industry, yet appear to be necessary in order to catalyse its development at the initial stage.
“When it comes to long-term development of charging infrastructure for EVs, CEE will have to face similar challenges to Western European countries – safety of charging process, network management and financial transactions services, among others,” cautions Belskiy. “However, setting up a charging infrastructure in CEE in residential areas, where most charging is likely to be done, will require specific solutions, and only around 7% of CEE’s population lives in houses, where garage charging could be an option.”
This challenge will increase its impact in the medium- to long-term as EVs are expected to start penetrating the middle class segment. To overcome this challenge, charging station suppliers and operators will have to provide advanced solutions with such functions as advanced load metering and control, if multiple users are connected to the charging station, says F&S.
“The key challenge will be optimising costs of the charging stations manufacturing, installation and operation in order to avoid transferring high costs onto the customer, which would negatively impact the demand,” concludes Belskiy.

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