BMW i3 ©innogy

Granted: Poland is not exactly known as a green EU country. But thanks to the German energy giant Innogy this could soon change. The RWE subsidiary is launching a project with 500 BMW i3 in Warsaw in April. At the same time, Innogy is doubling the number of charging stations in the Polish capital from 30 to 60. In addition, the company promises to add several hundred more in the next two years, in cooperation with a Polish bank and the Warsaw City Council.

“As a pioneer in electromobility, Innogy is also driving this topic forward internationally”, said board member Martin Herrmann in a press release, adding: “…With this trend-setting project, we are making environmentally friendly electromobility a tangible experience for all.” According to an Innogy spokesperson, the project will initially only be implemented in Warsaw: “In other Central European countries we have no plans of this magnitude for the time being. But what we are doing – for example, to companies in the Czech Republic – is offering concepts for electric cars.”

Norway at the Top

For Poland, the Innogy project represents an enormous advance in electric mobility. At the end of 2018, the country was lagging far behind the European environment with only 625 licensed electric cars. Although the 500 BMW i3s will almost double this figure in one fell swoop, Poland is still at the bottom end of the scale when it comes to electric mobility in Europe. In 2018, for example, there were more than 36,000 electric cars in circulation in Germany, 24,000 in the Netherlands and more than 46,000 in Norway.

10 Percent of Car Sharing Cars in Germany are Electrically Powered

The example of Germany shows that e-mobility can be boosted by car sharing. After all, around 10 percent of the more than 20,000 German community cars are powered by electric motors as hybrids or completely electrically. The German Carsharing Associationexplains this high percentage with the fact that the 2.46 million carsharing customers are more eager to experiment than the typical car owner in Germany.

In the Netherlands, the share of electric cars in car sharing is somewhat lower. According to the latest figures from the organization CROW-KpVV, there were 41,000 community cars at the beginning of 2018, of which 6.4 percent were half powered as plug-ins or all-electric.

Charging station at Aldi with Innogy technology © Innogy

Innogy at the Forefront of Infrastructure

Innogy is only a small player in Germany when it comes to e-vehicles. With a total of 20 cars, the Essen-based group is far away from the market leaders Daimler and BMW – which operate 20,000 vehicles worldwide with their merger combination Car2Go and Drive Now. But Innogy is the market leader in the German infrastructure with 7500 charging stations, of which about 3500 are private and about 4000 public.

The limited number of public charging stations in Germany is often seen as an obstacle to the breakthrough of the electric car. At the end of last year, the entire country had a total of 16,100 charging stations. It is expected that this number will increase rapidly in the coming years due to various new initiatives.

For example, the supermarket chains Lidl and Aldi are setting up their own charging infrastructure in Germany. In addition, people are eagerly awaiting what Volkswagen will do with its specially founded subsidiary Elli. There are also major plans from global companies such as Shell – with its subsidiary New Motion – and Charge Point. The latter is a start-up supported by large German companies such as Siemens, Daimler and BMW.

According to the National Platform for Electric Mobility (NPE), these initiatives are urgently needed. The consultancy assumes that by 2022, Germany will exceed the one million mark for electric cars. Since one charging station is needed for every ten cars, this means that there should be about 100,000 charging stations in three years.

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About the author

Author profile picture Maurits Kuypers graduated as a macroeconomist from the University of Amsterdam, specialising in international work. He has been active as a journalist since 1997, first for 10 years on the editorial staff of Het Financieele Dagblad in Amsterdam, then as a freelance correspondent in Berlin and Central Europe. When it comes to technological innovations, he always has an eye for the financial feasibility of a project.