Industry Wants More Government Incentives to Develop Electric Vehicles in Russia

By Ben Priddy, April 9, 2013

WEB EXCLUSIVE, Moscow. Government and industry officials called for more market regulation and federal subsidies to stimulate growth of Russia's electric vehicles market at the Moscow International Energy Forum today. Russia's Federal Grid Company took the lead in a project last November that is aimed at developing technology and support infrastructure for electric vehicles. Yet, participants agreed that new policies are needed to encourage the development of environmentally-friendly electric transportation projects that the government hopes to start testing next year.

A major task for Russian companies is to create support infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, according to Roman Berdnikov, First Deputy Chairman of the Management Board of Russia's Federal Grid Company. This requires technological innovation to develop charging stations, hardware and maintenance plans, and to connect to Russia's unified electric grid, Berdnikov said. Yet, Berdnikov explained that government tax incentives or subsidies are needed to encourage investment and innovation in home-grown technologies. "It will take additional incentives to implement these programs in the regions; we can only provide tools for regions and then they must develop [projects and new technologies further]," Berdnikov said.

Maksim Osorin, CEO and founder of Revolta, Russia's first high tech company to specialize in electric vehicle development, also supported the idea of greater government support. The emergence of new electric vehicle capacity in Russia is leading to new market models that require government guidance, Osorin explained. Russia's public transportation sector could experience a "revolution" if new technologies are created to develop a network of efficient and effective charging stations, Osorin said.

A number of electric vehicle pilot projects are currently underway, including in Russia's southern Stavropol region. The Stavropol government has already developed a draft law that would provide subsidies and tax incentives for Russians interested in buying electric vehicles, the region's Energy Minister, Dmitriy Samatov, said. The law, if adopted, would be a first of its kind in Russia and could be implemented on a federal scale if the government can find the political will and encourage businesses to invest in electric vehicle programs, Samatav said. Stavropol is currently testing five electric-powered taxis and plans to introduce 20 more electric cars to its public transport fleet this year.

Follow OGE for more coverage of the Moscow International Energy Forum this week.

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