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The Hungarian E-Mobility Cluster “Ányos Jedlik” is an umbrella organisation of the relevant stakeholders that are committed to the development of electric mobility. The Cluster was established in 2014 primarily as a consultative and advisory platform for the government. It is involved in shaping the necessary development policies, exploring the economic, social and environmental potential of electric mobility and recommending actions for politicians and business.
Currently the Cluster has over forty members and cooperating partners: among them – just to mention a few – there are car and bus manufacturers (Nissan, Porsche, Renault, MABI Bus), energy utility companies (E.ON, MVM Hungarian Power Company, ELMÜ), IT-companies (Qualysoft), international consulting firms (KPMG, PwC) automotive suppliers, mobility solution suppliers, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Budapest University of Technology, research institutions, transport companies and several municipalities.
In that context, the Cluster aims at facilitating innovation and enhance competitiveness in several sectors among which the vehicle industry is of utmost importance. Many of our members are vehicle manufacturers, suppliers or they are involved in research, development and innovation activities.
All our members share the the view that electric mobility covers much more than just electric vehicles, as a whole host of components make up the e-mobility system: apart the wide range of vehicles (cars, buses, trucks, light vehicles, and even bikes) it needs a reliable and flexible energy grid, state-of-the art informatics and communication services, and a very innovative complex industry.
In the framework of the European Energy Union and the EU reindustrialisation strategy the government of Hungary has declared its ambition to make the country the regional champion of a new and complex industry, namely the electric mobility. In the recent years, this policy has been shaped by the following factors:
The common climate and energy framework of the European Union with special emphasis on decarbonisation
Sustainable urban mobility and road transport with special emphasis on developing low and zero-emission vehicles
The common trend toward the low-carbon European economy
The common EU trend of reindustrialisation and job creation
In early 2014 the work was started under the aegis of the Ministry of National Economy to provide a consistent national e-mobility strategy. The ministry focused on providing a broad framework for establishing the priorities, thus – as a consulting and agenda-setting organisation – the “Ányos Jedlik Cluster” was set up and a development programme, the “Ányos Jedlik Plan” was announced. (Both are named after an outstanding 19th century Hungarian scientist who invented an electric motor. In the further text we refer to this body using the Hungarian abbreviation “JAK”, and the plan is known in its short form as “JAT”.)
The JAK, as a cluster organisation, has attracted most of the relevant stakeholders, including the electric vehicle producing OEMs, energy companies, research and academic institutions, transport organisers, interested municipal authorities and some other umbrella organisations. Its working groups elaborated proposals for the government to launch the much anticipated “Ányos Jedlik Plan” (JAT). In order to that, the proposals of JAK were accepted by the ministry as a e-mobility action plan for the government to provide – first of all- a coherent set of incentives. The “Ányos Jedlik Action Plan” was approved by the Prime Minister in July, 2015.
The First Steps: E-Mobility Incentives Programme and Legal Framework
The action plan contains both financial and non-financial incentives that can positively influence the growth of the market and the spread of of electrified transportation. The first major result in this field was the new legal definition of the “economically friendly” and “zero-emission” vehicles that are entitled, as of September 30, 2015, to have green number plates.
(Before that date electric vehicles had not been registered as such, thus there had been no statistical or other records to analyse.) This category includes BEV, PHEV, EREV and FCEV.
Other proposals of the Transport Working Group of JAK included the right of these vehicles to use bus lanes, reduced or no parking fees, reduced or no congestion fees, and possible tax exemptions or reduction, roughly in line with the practice of other EU Member States.
The action plan required the minister of national economy and the minister of of national development to provide the the basic charging infrastructure on the hand, and to provide a new and intelligent system of measuring the electricity used for charging and a (financial) clearing mechanism on the other.
The government institutions were given the task to work out these measures by the of November, 2015. It is expected that the cabinet of ministers might approve them in December.
Meanwhile, the Budapest Metropolitan Assembly has voted unanimously in favour of free parking of the “green” vehicles in the whole capital in the next two years.
The Electric Vehicle Market in Hungary
Cars:As we have noted above, there have been no exact statistics of the electric vehicles in Hungary before November this year. According to the Hungarian Statistics Office KSH, at the end of 2014 there were more than three million (3 107 695) M1 category passenger cars in the country. The latest official figures suggest that, as of January 31, 2016, 341 cars (i. e. roughly 0,001% of the total car stock) have been registered with green number plates. The share of BEV and PHEV vehicles in this group is 1:2.
This relatively low number, however, may be misleading, as only in this year, sales have been growing drastically. Around two hundred vehicles have been sold, compared to the really negligible stock of only one hundred e-cars a year ago.
Growth in the e-car market:There are different estimates relating to the dynamics of the e-car market, but most agencies are expecting rapid growth. PricewaterhouseCooper, for example in its May 2014 report indicated that by 2023 there will be more than 52 000 (fifty two thousand) electrically chargeable vehicles in Hungary. This was the so-called “realistic scenario”, but according to the “optimistic” one it is possible that 3,5% of the whole vehicle stock, that is more that 139 000 (one hundred thirty-nine thousand) electric cars, vans, buses and motorbikes will be on the roads.
This projection, however, was based the production forecasts of the major car-making OEMs, and other experts are less cautious because of the relatively lower purchasing power of the Hungarian population. Still, it is also a growth opportunity that the private import of second-hand e-cars from western EU Member States could soon be a major factor on the supply side.
Possible state and public aid:The government has also announced that significant public procurements will be conducted to broaden the use of e-cars of state-owned or municipal organisations (Ministries, for example, are expected to buy electric cars, and big public service entities, like the Hungarian Post have already announced their plans to procure e-vehicles in major cities.)
Public transport and e-buses:Public transport is also considered as a significant breakthrough area. Hungary has great traditions in bus manufacturing, as during most of the 20th century it was one of the biggest bus producers in the world. On the basis of the former Ikarus bus factory facilities a new company has been set up recently focusing on “new energy vehicles”. The MABI company produces vehicles with full electric, CNG and – in the future – hydrogen fuel cell power trains while the body is made of glass fibre composite material. This new generation of buses can be the backbone of the e-mobility drive in public transport in Hungary.
Initial charger deployment:The first steps of providing charging opportunities for e-car drivers were motivated by EU programmes like the “Green Vehicle Initiative”, and the business participants were guided mostly by promotional and marketing considerations. The German-owned electric utility company RWE-ELMÜ, for example, set up some public charging points in Budapest, as did the MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company at one of its premium-category filling stations. In the past few months the process of the setting up of charging stations has been accelerating, mostly due to the involvement of charger producing OEMs like ABB and
DBT, and partly owing to the fact that quite a few Nissan Leaf models have been sold, and this fact encouraged decision makers to see more charging facilities with Nissan-specific CHAdeMO rapid charging options. Still, the existing charging point do not make up a unified system: most of the provide electricity basically for free, though some mobile applications are necessary to use the service. According to the latest figures, there are 81 public charging stations in Hungary, but their geographical locations are sporadic and random.
Planning the national quick charging network:The most important factor, however, is that the Hungarian government is required by the 2014/94 EU Directive to establish a national framework strategy on the deployment of alternative fuels charging infrastructure. Currently, the Ministry of National Economy is entitled to finance the preparatory work for this project. The JAK Cluster is closely involved in this process. According to the latest indications, a network of approximately 150 rapid chargers would make up the backbone of the future national e-mobility infrastructure, mainly along the major highways and in the big cities. It is expected that the implementation of this project will be financed from the “Greening Economy” facility of the Ministry of National Economy. It is an important goal of this project to secure reliable connections to the similar networks of other EU Member States, so interoperability and roaming capability will be of crucial importance. Equally, decision must be made on the relevant charging standard: right now it is an open question whether the national rapid charging network will be equipped with only the mandatory EU-accepted CCS Combo 2 connectors or it will use the CHAdeMO chargers, too, in the spirit of technological neutrality. The Cluster is closely monitoring the deployment of the CORRI-DOOR network in France and the SLAM network in Germany.
The Automotive Industry
Hungary belongs to the major automotive industrial nations inside the EU, as there are three car-making plants (Audi, Mercedes, Suzuki) and hundreds of vehicle component producing ventures in the country. All important players have given positive signs about their possible involvement in e-mobility. Audi has recently started an e-mobility research and development programme at its plant in Győr. The Hungarian government – namely the Ministry of National Economy – is aware of the importance of the automotive sector in terms of its contribution to the Hungarian GDP, and e-mobility offers a unique opportunity to increase the innovation ability and competitiveness of the actors in this sector.
As it has been already mentioned, the Hungarian bus industry may be a beneficiary of a successful e-mobility strategy, as the rolling stock of the Hungarian public transport companies is extremely outdated, its replacement cannot be delayed any longer.
The Energy Sector
Until recently, energy companies have shown limited interest in e-mobility, but the announcement of the “Ányos Jedlik Plan” (JAT) electrified their involvement. The key player is, by any means, the state-owned MVM Hungarian Power Company which is responsible for providing the safe supply of electricity for all users and customers. According to the latest information, both the government and MVM management support the leading role of the company – first of all, its Independent Transmission Operator (ITO) holding member, MAVIR – in creating a reliable electricity supply network using the national grid.
Distribution system operators, like E.ON and RWE are also preparing their strategies to meet the new market challenges.
Equally, the national MOL Hungarian Oil and Gas Company is showing keen interest to deploy electric vehicle rapid charging points along its filling station network.
From the technology point of view, e-mobility is a challenge for the energy companies along the supply chain, because charging solutions are developing very fast, and it is expected that power demand will also grow.
The Information and Telecommunication Sector
The other sector that is closely examining the opportunities offered by the e-mobility drive is informatics. There is a considerable degree of synergies between the earlier “Smart City”, “Smart Grid” and “Intelligent Transport Systems” projects that secures the necessary knowledge for further development. Once again, it may be a competitive edge of the local IT-companies that they have great experience in public infrastructure projects. Potential investors and business partners are already engaged in this field.
Research and Education
Special importance is given to the role e-mobility can play in the shaping of modern education, especially in the technical field. It is evident that a great number of specialists will be required in the near future, so vocational training and academic engineering curricula need to be modified.