The fourth edition analyses the competitive landscape of charging station operators
The level of transparency within the e-mobility ecosystem in the Romanian market remains relatively limited. Key questions such as ...
What is the development status of e-mobility in Romania and how does this fare against the more mature markets?
Which factors are driving e-mobility developments in Romania and how have these evolved over time?
How does the TCO of xEVs fare against vehicles powered by internal combustion engines?
What is the readiness level of the national infrastructure with regards to e-mobility adoption and what is the outlook?
… remain largely unanswered. The Romanian E-Mobility Index (REI), a bi-annual report, aims to bridge this gap related to e-mobility by offering a data-driven perspective, centered around the major developments in the local market as well as related technologies.
Special topic – Charging stations competitive landscape
Growing numbers of players are launching charging stations. In fact, the market has evolved from its initial phase of launching charging stations to test the appetite of consumers to a full-fledged commercialization state, where an increasing number of sustainable business models compete for an ever-growing customer base.
Recent developments in the charging station infrastructure are mainly driven by two categories of players – Station network operators and players that own dedicated locations for the charging infrastructure, such as retailers, malls or office spaces, with the two displaying different operating models. Fuel stations are currently in an early phase of charging infrastructure development hence they exhibit a mixed positioning but display a gradual tendency towards developing their own charging networks.
The network operator segment is dominated by one specialized player, having a network of 105 charging stations with fast-charge capability in over 80% of the units at the end of 2020. Leading utility players are also actively involved in the market and are in the process of ramping up their charging station networks.
Charging station location owners operate both in partnership with network operators and on their own. Leading retail companies account for approximately 21% of all active charging stations with a presence in 31 counties. In the fuel station segment, the most active oil company has close to 30 fast-charging stations located in 17 counties. Although better positioned to cater to the needs of vehicle owners, fuel stations are generally laggards when it comes to charging infrastructure – Only one in 100 fuel stations belonging to the top three national players offer electric charging capabilities.
Together, station network operators and location owners have driven the market to higher growth rates – The end of 2020 saw a significant increase in the usual 20-30% growth rate per semester, with a 43% increase in the second half of the year. The total number of charging stations edges closer to 700, with one in three stations offering fast-charging capability at the end of the year compared to one in four in previous semesters. The first two ultrafast chargers in Romania were inaugurated in H2 of 2020, providing output of over 150 kW to quickly recharge vehicle batteries.
The approximately 220 new charging stations opened in the second half of the year mostly belong to retailers, malls, car dealerships and public parking facilities. With 60% overall growth, retailers have overtaken the HoReCa segment, where developments were modest in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
Increased subsidies help xEV registrations peak
New xEV registrations rebounded strongly in the second semester, leading to a record year for Romania with almost 3,900 new xEV registrations, a 93% increase compared to 2019. The all-time high number of new xEVs on the roads was bolstered by the partial lifting of lockdown restrictions, but primarily driven by the record level of government incentives. The Rabla Plus program budget amounted to EUR 41 m in 2020, more than double the 2019 level.
In line with the growth trend visible in all major EU countries, the share of new EVs & PHEVs in total new car registrations increased to ~3.9% in the second half of the year.
Vehicle manufacturers' offering continues to diversify
Following the trend set in the first half of the year, the EV and PHEV offering continues to expand as manufacturer line-ups become increasingly electrified. 44 new xEV models were launched in 2020, doubling the number of models available at the end of 2019. Consumer preference for the SUV segment is reflected in the offering – 40% of the new xEV models launched in 2020 were SUVs.
Small electric SUVs are cost efficient at low yearly mileage
Sub-compact electric SUVs reach break-even point with their petrol counterparts at a yearly mileage of 8,000 km when accounting for the Rabla Plus subsidy. Despite their 30% higher list price, small electric SUVs incur low operational spending both in terms of charging and maintenance – Even without governmental incentives, they are 90% as cost efficient as their diesel counterparts at a yearly mileage of 15,000 km.
Thinking ahead – E-mobility presents key opportunities for players across the entire economic spectrum
COVID-19 has been a significant challenge successfully passed by e-mobility – While the automotive sector has suffered, e-mobility has proved its resilience and is visibly on a clear development path; Furthermore, the pledges of policymakers are increasingly strong and signal a downturn for combustion engines.
Charging stations have reached commercialization state – Customer differentiators are expected to be size of network, station power output/ charging speed, station booking possibilities, price positioning (including dynamic pricing) and mobile app functionalities.
Traditional energy players should be mindful of this when designing their future strategies – There is an increasing gap in charging station offerings between fuel stations and the leading players from other sectors such as retail or real estate.
Romania's energy generation mix creates an ideal opportunity for investors to promote sustainable projects such as new charging network infrastructures.
E-mobility remains an important opportunity to optimize operational costs, especially considering ongoing governmental incentives and in light of the partial recovery of oil prices.
About the Romanian E-Mobility Index
REI is a bi-annual report that aims to increase the level of transparency within the e-mobility ecosystem in the Romanian market by implementing a data-driven perspective, centered around the major developments as well as related technologies.
Would you like to know more about the Romanian E-Mobility Index and how companies can profit from the development of e-mobility in Romania? Please don't hesitate to contact our experts
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Romanian E-Mobility Index: E-Mobility was the winner of 2020
The fourth edition of Romanian E-Moblity Index focuses on the main players active in the charging station industry, both in terms of network operators and main station locations.