As Poland gears up for COP24 presidency, electric car development stalls

In the run up to COP24 UN climate talks, due to be held in Poland in early December, the governments of Poland and the UK have announced a new partnership designed to encourage other governments to do more to develop e-mobility.

According to a government press release, the initiative is said to create a network of partnerships between cities, regional and national governments, and NGOs, and is designed to be a platform for building and sharing knowledge on electromobility and accelerating new e-mobility solutions at both local and international levels.

“Electromobility is the technology of tomorrow,” said Poland’s Secretary of State for the Environment and President of COP24 Michał Kurtyka. “The Polish COP24 presidency proposes establishing e-mobility as one of the main topics of this year’s COP and to launch a partnership in this area. We want these actions to become an impulse towards ensuring universal opportunities to live in clean, environmentally friendly cities.”

“The UK has led the world in cutting emissions while growing our economy and just weeks ago we held the world’s first summit to accelerate global investment in zero emission technology and infrastructure. Ahead of COP24, the UK and Poland are calling on all countries to renew their efforts to accelerate the transition to low emission vehicles to create a cleaner, greener legacy for future generations,” said Richard Harrington, the UK’s minister for business and industry.

While the initiative and the aspirations of both governments are commendable, it should still be noted that Poland still relies heavily on coal to produce electricity, with 2018 already proving to be a record year for the import of coal: Poland has already imported twice as much coal from Russia in 2018 than it did in 2017. However, the Polish government has begun initiatives to help reduce pollution, and has set up an umbrella organisation, ElectroMobility Poland (EMP), tasked with developing Poland’s electric vehicle market.

According to Polish news portal Plus Biznesu, there has been little progress however towards the creation of a Polish electric car, which is expected to be ready for sale in 2022. The EMP is nevertheless set to receive another 40 million zloty for further work on the project. EMP was set up in 2016, and received an initial investment of 10 million zloty, since then the four shareholders (Polska Grupa Energetyczna (PGE), Tauron, Energa and Enea, four state-owned energy companies) have invested a total of 70 million zloty into the project.

The investors are adamant that the project is on track:

“In October, following EMP’s general meeting, a resolution was adopted regarding an increase of the company’s share capital. This decision was provided for in the EMP work schedule and in accordance with its business plan. The funds transferred to the company are intended for the next stages of work on the creation of a Polish electric car,” reads a statement issued by PGE’s press office.

Critics are concerned whether or not the Polish electric car and the government’s push for e-mobility will become a reality.

“I wonder when we will see prototypes of the Polish electric cars on the streets. There has already been a considerable investment but to date we see no progress,” wrote Marta Daszkiewicz in an article on Spider’s Web an independent Polish technology and lifestyle blog.

Source: Emerging Europe

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