[NEWS] BSC: Slovenian difficulties on sustainable cars

Why is Slovenia lagging behind in achieving set goals of shifting to BEVs when it comes to personal cars?

The Slovenian goal, set in accordance with EU in the Strategy for alternative fuels, is to achieve the number of about 130.000 battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and 70.000 plug in hybrids vehicles (PHEVs) by 2030. According to this plan, Slovenia should have had, by the end of 2020, 5.311 BEVs and 6.033 PHEVs. On the 31st of December 2020, the numbers in the registry of car registrations published by the Ministry of Infrastructure show 3.678 BEV and 944 PHEVs.

Why Slovenia isn't achieving the set goals? Even if at this stage there is not really one clear cut answer and the most common answer would put the blame on the price of the electric vehicles, they are some other interesting indicators that give the food for thought.

National incentives in Slovenia for BEVs and PHEVs have dropped in recent years from 7.500 EUR per new BEV to 4.500 EUR and from 4.500 EUR to 0 for PHEV. It is true, that the positive change took place as well and physical persons can get a subsidy also for a test BEV in the amount of 3.500 EUR. A tax on the purchase of the BEVs that is customary for the vehicles with the internal combustion engine has also been abolished. Can these changes compensate for the reduced subsidy? For the average customer a purchase of BEV in comparison to a fossil fuel car still represents a hefty cost.

Slovenians like to look up to Germany and compare the German policies with Slovenian ones. In terms of financial incentives for BEVs, one of the expert Slovenian magazines, Finance, represented a case that might give a hint on why BEVs might be selling faster in Germany than in Slovenia.

For electric Fiat 500e, Slovenian customer will pay 50% more than German. One needs to take into consideration that in Germany there is also a higher standard of living – higher GDP per capita. Electric 500e is, considering its size and range, oddly expensive. The list price in Slovenia ranges from 35.000 to 39.000 EUR. For 500e icon with 37,3 kWh battery and 320 km range on one full charge, the costs Slovenian customer will pay is 29.440 EUR after subsidies and 3% discount from dealers. The list price of same car in Germany is 29.950 EUR. The national subsidy is 6.000 EUR and the subsidy or a discount of Fiat dealer is 4.710 EUR, with accounted cost of documentation and transport being 750 EUR, the German customer pays 19.950 EUR.

For about 29.440 EUR a Slovenian customer gets significantly more car in literate terms if looking at fossil fuel cars. Volkswagen Passat Business 2.0 TDI is by an official dealer sold for 29.518,81 EUR, Škoda Octavia Style, petrol, costs from 21.120 EUR. These are the cars Slovenians like to buy.

The above written would confirm that the reason of lagging behind in BEV adoption actually does lay in the price.

Some would argue that the price of BEVs should be considered in a different way. What is seemingly overpaid at the purchase of a BEV, an owner of the BEV saves by charging electric vehicle at home, lower registration costs due to zero tax on motor power and maintenance.

Although it is true that there is less parts to be changed, like no more filters for particles, no oil changing, no clutch errors to be fixed, less frequent change of brake pads, there are still other maintenance costs to be considered: air condition filters, breaks disks are faster to rust, electric components that can malfunction, unpredictable cost of battery change or repair after guarantee and all the little equipment that is used up on any car. Slovenians like to take their cars to unofficial car repair shops, since they are significantly cheaper then official brand car repair shops or even service their cars themselves. If one is not an expert in electric car maintenance it is highly advised that BEVs are taken to the official dealer for maintenance.

Cost of charging in Slovenia is known to be low, especially if an owner can charge its vehicle at home at night. In March 2021, Slovenian association of electric vehicles gave the following information on the prices of BEV charging in order to help electric vehicle owners reduce the charging costs.