09.12.2021 [10:00-12:00] – Thessaloniki and Kavala, GREECE
On Thursday, 9th of December, we held our third Round table in the Greece-Bulgaria cross-border region, as part of the E.VE.CR.I project, funded by the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A “Greece-Bulgaria 2014-2020”. The venue chosen for this event was CERTH/HIT Meeting Room in Thessaloniki and Municipality of Kavala Meeting Room in Kavala, where we gathered local business owners, local authorities and specialist from the electric vehicles industry and we shared valuable insight into latest trends and technologies. Representatives of all E.VE.CR.I beneficiaries were present at the meeting – both online and in-person.
The round table started with a welcome by the event moderator Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris, HIT/CERTH Director and President of the HELIEV, the Hellenic Association for Electric Vehicles. Dr. Bekiaris explained the scope and the aims of EVECRI. He went on to share some of the problems that EV users in the Greek area experience and explained in detail the existing electric mobility situation on the Greek roads, drawing comparisons with the Bulgarian side. It was emphasized that that the rapidly growing market for EVs in Greece is predicted to reach 7% growth by the end of 2021! Hence, installation of charging infrastructure and projects focused on electric mobility, such as E.VE.CR.I, are extremely valuable in today’s climate. Dr. Bekiaris also made a break down of the charging station infrastructure according to company, volume and locations and explained that Northern Greece has room for growth in this respect.
A point made by Mr Martin Zaimov, who is the chairman of the Bulgarian Electric Vehicles Association and year-long proponent of electric mobility, was the lack of reliable data on the number of EVs passing the border and the need for such in order to better understand the current situation. Mr. Athanasios Tsioutras, who is the HIT/CERTH transportation engineer and the one responsible for the dissemination of the project in Greece, noticed that the above lack of newer traffic data suggests that ownership of electric vehicles is growing with a rate that maybe we should pay more attention to. Hence more studies on the subject in the cross-border area are worthwhile.
The round table attracted numerous local stakeholders who had the chance to ask questions to our experts. Dr. Bekiaris answered numerous questions from parking owners, who are an important target audience for our project. Local authorities were also present. Mr. Vrettos, a representative from the Municipal Public Benefit Enterprise of Kavala, stated the necessity of the development of new charging stations in Kavala. Mr. Yiannis Toskas, the Managing Director of Thessaloniki Transportation Authority SA (OSETH), mentioned the example of the city or Rodos, where HIT/CERTH has a branch. There are already 6 small electric buses providing door to door passenger transportation in Rodos. Mr Toskas also talked about a project involving the public procurement of 770 electric buses by the public transport authorities of Athens and Thessaloniki with funding by the European Investment Bank and other authorities on behalf of the Greek Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation and shared his other views on the development of electric mobility within the public transport sector.
The meeting also covered a lot of the technical and legal aspects of charging stations installation and operation. Mr. Dimitrios Margaritis, automotive engineer of HIT/CERTH, was present to answer questions regarding legal framework, technical specifications, eligibility status for SMEs etc. Mr. Michail Georgopoulos from the GEYER – a private charging company – shared the charging operators’ perspective. He answered questions regarding the installation process, charging technical details, payment procedures and competitiveness and placement of charging stations.
Other topics of discussion included recent changes in electricity prices which affects the electromobility. The cross-border region certainly has room for improvement, since the seasonal summer traffic from Central Europe to the Greek resorts has been rapidly increasing despite the pandemic. The event was wrapped by attendees having a light lunch with a great promise for the future of electric mobility in the cross-border region.