Well, that’s one way to get a charging network rolled out in a hurry. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has decreed that all gas stations must be equipped with public EV chargers by November 2016, the Moscow Times reported.
Critics immediately pointed out the incongruity of such a sweeping measure in a country that is currently home to a grand total of about 500 EVs, according to the market research agency Autostat (neighboring Norway has over 50,000).
The Mitsubishi i-MiEV arrived in Russia in 2011, followed by EVs from Tesla, BMW and Nissan. Russian manufacturer AutoVAZ introduced its EL Lada in 2011, but has sold fewer than 50 units so far. And sales are not growing – au contraire, in the first half of this year, they declined 25 percent.
Other than free parking for EVs in Moscow, the Russian government currently offers few incentives for EV purchases. Installing chargers at gas stations makes little sense unless coupled with steps to stimulate demand, Analyst Vladimir Bespalov of VTB Capital pointed out.
The new decree does not specify what type of charger must be installed. The cost to install a basic Level 1 charger starts from 100,000 rubles ($1,480), according to Maxim Osorin, General Director of Revolta Motors, which sells EVs and operates a chain of charging stations around Moscow. A DC fast charger, which is more likely to see some usage, would cost more like 3.5 million rubles ($51,720), said Osorin. However, he does believe that the government’s measure will have a positive effect on the market.
Others are more skeptical. “The issue of electric cars is irrelevant in Russia,” said Autostat head Andrei Toptun. “We have a huge territory and fewer cars than many other countries, so there is simply no need to develop the idea of electric cars on a nationwide scale.”
Source: The Moscow Times
Image: Statsministerens kontor (CC BY-ND 2.0)