At this year’s Hungarian Battery Day in Budapest, experts from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) assessed the prospects of the electrification of the automotive industry in the region. Increasing awareness among the wider public and policymakers, re-skilling and up-skilling continue to be among the key common obstacles and objectives as we approach the 2035 phase-out of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles in the EU.
Dóra Fazekas, Managing Director of Cambridge Econometrics at the Budapest office, mentioned her company’s research study that modelled various scenarios under the EV transition. According to the study, a successful transition could see “significant economic benefits” with an expected 10 per cent GDP growth. However, as noted by Ms Fazekas, re-skilling and up-skilling are essential to achieve such a scenario.
Looking closer at individual countries in the region, Patrik Krizansky, Director of the Slovak Electric Vehicle Association highlighted Slovakia’s needs in the context of battery demand in Europe as “Slovakia is a leader in battery consumption”.
Mr Krizansky also highlighted the broader challenges associated with the regional policy-making landscape saying that “policymakers are conservative, in particular in the CEE region.” The Director of the Association also noted the importance of providing policymakers with data, which is key for “meaningful debates” in this area.
Mr Krizansky and Aleksander Rajch, Vice-President of the Polish Alternative Fuels Association discussed the signing of their recent joint declaration which outlined steps to seize the opportunities presented by the e-mobility transition and the clean industrial revolution in the region. This was an opportunity to further unpack the challenges associated with the need for skilled labour in e-mobility and the purpose of the joint declaration as a ‘call for action’ for policymakers to best prepare them for the upcoming regulations.
Summarising the panel with a question on where the industry is heading now, all experts voiced a clear statement: “we don’t have any other choice.”