Poland is making progress in developing its own national electric car brand. This was evident during a presentation this week of the Izera concept car. The aim is for the car to be brought on the market in 2023 in two models: a hatchback and an SUV. It is expected that the project will create 3500 jobs. The car is should compete with the relatively cheaper electric models, as, according to the company ElectroMobility Poland (EMP), the car aims to be affordable for the average Polish driver.

When Innovation Origins first reported on the plans for a Polish e-car brand last December, there were still serious doubts whether the project would be viable. But it was clear even then that the project should certainly be taken seriously due to the support from the government and professional partners.

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For instance, EMP enlisted the help of engineers from the German EDAG, which has experience in building chassis systems for electric cars. In addition, the Italian company Torino Design has helped with the design.

400 kilometers

The technical details of the Izera are similar to other e-cars. A distance of 400 kilometers can be covered on a full battery. Going from 0 to 100 km/h is possible in 8 seconds. And recharging the battery back up to 80% takes 30 minutes.

The project is now entering the critical phase, according to Piotr Zaremba, CEO of EMP. That is also why the company wanted to break its silence. As he said during a presentation in a suburb just outside Warsaw, the continued support from the government, the automotive sector, and other external partners is essential and very much appreciated. The largest financial backing comes from four state energy companies PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna, Energa, Enea, and Tauron Polska Energia, each with 25% of the shares. It is estimated that an investment of around €1 billion is required.

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It is now time to start building a factory while making further technical improvements, Zaremba states. EMP has not yet revealed the exact location, but it is sure to be in the Silesian region. That is where the name Izera comes from, derived from a river and the Góry Izerskie mountain range (better known to us as the Jizera Mountains) between south-west Poland and the Czech Republic.

Populism

It is clear that there are also populist motives behind the project. Poland is not alone in this respect. Turkey, Vietnam, and Russia (Kalashnikov) are some other examples of countries that are working on a national e-car brand.

On one hand, Poland is proud to have a large automobile sector. On the other, there is also a certain amount of frustration that 70% of the manufacturers come from abroad. A quote from the press release from Małgorzata Królak, the director of the EMP project agency, says it all:

“Electromobility is no longer a matter of vague daydreams, but rather a genuine technological and business reality that we must embrace more efficiently. The automobile sector is Poland’s second-largest industry, with more than 200,000 jobs in manufacturing and 270,000 in trade and industry-related services. This means that the automobile sector accounts for roughly 7% of Poland’s GDP. On top of that, we are the largest European country that does not have its own car brand. The owners of the technologies used to manufacture cars are predominantly international companies. Whereas about 70% of goods being produced in Poland are destined for export. With the Izera brand, we want to change all that. This is a golden opportunity to create a specialized Polish field based on our own solutions that will be able to compete with other players in the global market.”

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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.