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Bulgaria steps up efforts to build a competitive battery industry

From April 25 to 27, Bulgaria was the host of the international conference Automotive & Battery Forum 2023, organised by the Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, in partnership with the InvestBulgaria Agency and Kinstellar.

The three-day event with 40 established international experts from the automotive industry presented the latest breakthroughs and outlined the future development of battery technologies, digitalisation of production, automotive software, cyber security and artificial intelligence among others.

The conference took place just one day after the signing of the declaration of Bulgaria’s accession to the European Battery Alliance – confirming the commitment of the country and the Automotive Cluster Bulgaria (ACB) to build a strong European battery value chain and a competitive industry.

Among the official guests at the opening were Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister for the Management of European Funds Atanas Pekanov, who emphasised the presence of all the prerequisites for a flourishing battery industry in Bulgaria and Bulgarian Minister of Economy and Industry Nikola Stoyanov who pointed out that electric mobility will determine the future of the industry in the next 10 years.

It was also announced that a new industrial zone for the automotive industry would be established near the capital of Sofia – in Dobroslavtsi, which aims to attract new foreign investments with several government incentives and opportunities for partnerships.

In its press release the Automotive Cluster Bulgaria underlined that in line with the government’s efforts, it will continue to work actively to support new investors in finding suitable locations, partners and staff in Bulgaria. “The Cluster has an impressive track record, having already supported most of the large automotive investors in the region, such as Bosch Engineering Center, Etem Gestamp and many others, in their establishment in the country,” highlighted the ACB.

On the second day of the Automotive & Battery Forum, which was named Innovation Day, several expert speakers discussed recent breakthroughs in the industry. Among them was Mariana Iteva from Veolia, who presented the company’s solutions for a sustainable future in the industry. Eng. Krasimir Krastev from Siemens presented the company’s solutions guaranteeing safety in the production, storage and charging process of Li-Io batteries, and James Glover and Ross Bearman from Viridian EV and Orlin Radev from Ampeco took part in the panel on the future of charging infrastructure.

ACB said that the variety of international guests confirmed their increasing partnerships with several international organisations. Leena Thomas from Global Business Inroads talked about cooperation between India and Europe, while Abdullah Çerekçi from Zorlu Holding discussed the opportunities for partnership between Turkey and Bulgaria, which ACB is promoting thanks to a signed memorandum with its Turkish counterpart.

The third day, Automotive Software Day, highlighted two key areas in the field of automotive – artificial intelligence and cyber security. This also corresponded with Automotive Cluster Bulgaria’s plans to develop a training centre to upskill professionals in the automotive industry.

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