The beginning of the year is a traditional time for summing up the results of the past and drawing up plans for the future. Including the situation with electric vehicles in Ukraine. The previous article, judging by the comments, did not become too popular. And in vain – because the questions "here and now" for an ordinary Ukrainian motorist are much more important than the questions "somewhere in the distant future." So – let's try to sum up and look into the near future of the market of electric vehicles in Ukraine; so to speak, we will make a general picture on the market of electric vehicles here and now.
Results of 2017: importers get acquainted with electric cars; service and repairs
The first and main question I asked representatives of different companies and dealers: how many electric cars were sold by you for 2017? Quite frankly, the figures are small: from several units (for example, sales of Citroen Berlingo) – to a couple of dozen (for example, Hyundai Ioniq or BMW i-series). Some companies brought electric vehicles "for themselves": to study the features; look at the reaction of car enthusiasts, corporate segment customers, media representatives; send to the service centers to get acquainted with the new equipment. However, what is impressive is the number of official importers who somehow touched the world of electric cars.
Only a small list of electric cars imported by "officers" in 2016-2017: Hyundai Ioniq Electric Citroen Berlingo Electric VW e-Golf Renault Kangoo ZE BMW i3 .
What means "touched"? In most cases, this means much more than just "brought an electric car". For example, in the Ukrainian representative office of Renault there is a separate person who is responsible for electric vehicles. He knows not only "all-all-everything" about Renault electric vehicles, but also has information about a network of charging stations in different cities of Ukraine, about the readiness of dealers to service electric cars, he knows the main questions (and answers to them) that arise from corporate and private clients. And a couple of Renault Kangoo ZE vans came to Ukraine for testing to different companies: Sushiya, Domino`s, Ukravtodor, agrarians, etc.
Another example – the Ukrainian representation of Citroen brought to us an electric van Berlingo and, believe me, he was far from the beautiful exhibition podiums: he was given to long-term tests in the offices of Novaya Pochta and UkrPochta, they offered corporate clients. Although the final decision on the delivery of an electric car to Citroen Berlingo Electric in Ukraine has not yet been made – negotiations are being held with the company's main office, there are issues of adapting the electric car to our climate and roads.
Navskidku Citroen Berlingo Electric probably, very few people will remember. And in vain: ease of control, the ability to quickly charge, a real power reserve, a capacious body – an understanding of these issues some potential corporate customers already have. A similar situation for the company Renault : the start of sales of electric cars for "private traders" moved a little, but corporate customers have been studying Renault's electric cars for a year .
Hyundai: the first Korean electric vehicles arrived in Ukraine in the summer of 2017 and then only 18% of the dealers of the brand (7th out of 40) were ready to service electric cars. But after six months, this figure reaches 85%, and in 2018, all dealers should be ready to serve electric vehicles. Why is it so important? Because often the dealer decides that it is profitable for him – and invests money in this direction. In order to sell and service electric vehicles you need to do a lot (and this is very expensive): to arrange a sales area and send to trainings of sellers; to purchase expensive equipment for service stations (equipment specially for electric cars); teach mechanics to handle the electric vehicle and its electrical component. About six months ago I heard a phrase from one "official" to an account of electric cars: "we did not know where we were – every day more and more difficult and more difficult." Then I wanted to add: "but it's too late to turn." Today, as many "behind-the-scenes events" of 2017 show, official importers and dealers are already realizing what an electric car is like, how to work with it, sell and service.
Although there are companies that are "wolves" in this segment. We are talking about enthusiasts and private sellers who started to engage in electric vehicles a couple of years ago when they were a wonder. One of the striking examples is the RIK AUTO company: updated Nissan Leaf 30 kWh ; one of the first electric cars Tesla Model X in Ukraine; rare electric vehicles Ford Focus Electric and Mercedes B-Class Electric Drive . To understand the scale of work: in 2017, only one company RIK AUTO sold about 60 electric vehicles – this is roughly comparable to the sales of electric cars of all "official" combined. And there are many similar companies selling electric cars.
Although, frankly, in most cases, private sales companies bring second-hand electric cars; hence the high sales figures. But with a specific order from the customer, you can bring a new electric car. At the same time, work with second-hand electric vehicles forced companies like RIK AUTO to study their device, ways to diagnose the condition of the battery, and the possibility of repairing it. Today, these companies have a huge amount of knowledge in these issues.
Plans for 2018: new models and network development charge
Speaking of plans for the future, it is easiest to write a list of models that we expect to see in Ukraine during 2018 of the year. But, besides novelties, there are other questions. First of all, innovations in taxation for electric cars, thanks to which the latter in 2018 may become cheaper by about 10-15% (the forecast of 17% almost all market operators have called too optimistic) relative to the prices of 2017.
Of course, the price reduction will lead to an increase in sales, with a notable: skeptics talk about a minimal increase in sales of about 20-30%; optimists expect to see + 100% of sales of electric vehicles from the indicators of 2017. For example, the company Hyundai for half of 2017 – active sales of Ioniq Electric started in the summer – managed to sell 22 electric cars; those. a full year gives us a sales figure of 45-50 units. However, the Hyundai plan for 2018 provides for the sale of 100 electric vehicles, i.e. the company is waiting for twofold growth! At the same time, the main stake is made on the already known model of Ioniq Electric, although in 2018 in Ukraine there may be an electric version of the crossover Kona. However, in this case, the forecasts are premature: everything depends on the loading of factories, the popularity of the model in the European market, agreements and quotas for Ukraine, etc.
But once we have returned to the topic of new models in 2018, we will continue. One of the most important novelties is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV crossover. Although there is no final decision on the withdrawal of this model to the Ukrainian market, negotiations are currently underway (supply of a large batch of hybrids for the police is an intergovernmental agreement between Ukraine and Japan). However, the representative office of Mitsubishi in Ukraine actively supports this model: Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is present at all landmark events, there is a description on the website, even the preliminary price was calculated – 1.56 million UAH, about $ 56 thousand.
The brightest and most important debutants, which we are waiting for in 2018: finally come the "commodity" Renault ZOE and Renault Kangoo ZE 33, which are only available for acquaintance with corporate customers. Probably, there will be a rechargeable hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV . Finally, private sellers promise by the spring Nissan Leaf 2nd generation !
It is interesting that many market operators, one way or another touching electric cars or recharging hybrids, "aim" a little further – on 2019-2020 years. For example, in 2019, deliveries to Ukraine of Mercedes-Benz models of the EQ line should begin (there will only be electric cars in it). Another example – in 2020, the Volkswagen I.D. electric car should start, which can then be expected in Ukraine. Both examples are not accidental: Mercedes-Benz EQ and Volkswagen I.D. are "originally electric cars" – its own platform, a capacious battery and a large power reserve, the layout is originally based on the features of the electric vehicle and the location of the electric motors.
Again, look far into the future, right? But this future is being built already now, moreover – in Ukraine. For example, although the official importer of Volkswagen does not sell e-Golf, a couple of them were brought in in 2017, but already ten dealers of the brand in major cities of Ukraine have been trained and are ready to service electric vehicles of Volkswagen. So: yes, e-Golf is not for sale; but it became the point from which Volkswagen electric vehicles begin in Ukraine.
Similar situation with official Renault dealers – almost all dealers are ready to work with electric cars of the brand, moreover they are dealers in different cities: four in Kiev, one in Odessa , Lviv, Nikolaev, Ivano-Frankivsk, the Dnieper, the dealer in Poltava is preparing. These dealers have already purchased equipment and a special tool, their employees have been trained in France, each dealer has a pair of charging stations.
Electric vehicles Mercedes – Benz  EQ and Volkswagen I . D . Is a reserve for the future, approximately 2019-2020. But they are preparing for this future right now, including in Ukraine.
It's also interesting that many market operators are still "nodding" towards charging stations. At first glance, there are a lot of them already in Ukraine, just look at the profile site map. But a detailed study of the situation shows a lot of problems: the data is obsolete and the charging is no longer, the charging connector is not the one, the ground is bad and the electric car is not charging, charging is chargeable and / or it is constantly busy. In Ukraine, there are several large networks of charging stations, but each network – its own rules, tariffs, access cards, etc.
Similar questions were encountered by representatives of Renault, when they conducted a ZOE tour in Ukraine – a unique study of the real state of infrastructure in our country. As part of the ZOE tour, various problems were noted, information was passed to operators of charging stations to possibly eliminate these problems. And today the second ZOE tour is scheduled to be held in January 2018 in the major cities of Ukraine: Kiev, Odessa, Ivano-Frankivsk, Nikolaev, Dnepr.
It is interesting that in Europe now fundamental changes in the world of charging stations are coming; perhaps they are not visible to an outside user, but really – this is a small revolution. This is the creation of a joint venture IONITY: here their efforts have been joined by Daimler AG (Mercedes-Benz), BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, Volkswagen Group, Audi and Porsche. The main goal is to deploy in Europe a network of powerful charging stations for electric vehicles. Now plans are voiced for the creation of 400 charging stations by 2020. Why is it so important? Because this is an example of combining competitors for the sake of the common future – it seems that all the companies from the above are already confident in electric cars.
Ukraine is also not far behind, we have innovative ideas in the segment of charge for electric cars: one example of this is the charging network Go To-U – always free of charge for the owner of the electric vehicle, booking the charge through the application.
The approach Go To – U is able to radically change the perception of the electric car by the user: you need to think about where to go to charge, since all charges are free; their location can be seen on the map and immediately booked the right time.
In the end: is there any future for electric cars in Ukraine?
Yes, and this future is coming right now: at the time when you read this article, many people bring electric cars to Ukraine, learn how to repair them, install charging. This is a routine process that goes step by step. Many of these small steps remain behind the scenes, they are invisible at first glance – and they only become visible when you "raise your head" when preparing such an article: sum up the year and ask about the future.
In 2014-2015. electric cars were the lot of enthusiasts; in 2016 electric vehicles appeared at exhibitions and even in a taxi; 2017 became the year of acquaintance of "officers" with electric cars; 2018-th promises us a lot of interesting new products, lower prices, the development of a dealer network for electric vehicles and hybrids, new charging. In short, the process is under way. And thanks to this "somewhere out there and in the distant future" really turns into "here and now" for Ukrainian motorists.