Future of Estonia's electric car charging network uncertain, privatization possible

A quick-charging station belonging to the nationwide ELMO electric car charging station network. (Postimees/Scanpix)
6/16/2016 1:32 PM
Category: Business

State-subsidized Estonian electric car infrastructure program ELMO (Electromobility Programme) is scheduled to come to an end next year and its future is as of yet uncertain. One possibility being considered, however, is the privatization of the nationwide charging network.

“The ELMO project will draw to a close at the end of 2017, and KredEx as a financial institution is not a logical owner or administrator for a quick-charging network in the long run,” Rasmus Ruuda, Director of the Public Relations Department at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications, told Estonian car magazine Autoleht.

“A decision regarding what will happen next beginning in 2018 will be made at the end of this year,” Ruuda confirmed. “And so the question regarding whether the network should remain a public service or whether it might find a private owner remains undecided.” An analysis was in the works, he added.

“In any case, the network must in large part retain its current form, but it is possible that some quick chargers will be relocated to places with greater demand,” noted Ruuda. In the long term, however, the public relations director noted that not only would new charging stations be added to the network, but stanard “euro outlets” would be added to charging stations as well.

A public procurement won by automation and power technology firm ABB was organized by the Estonian state in 2011 for the purchase and management of the country’s ELMO quick charger network. The current procurement contract was signed through November 2017.

Mart Tuuling, manager of ABB Estonia’s automation projects business unit, confirmed that ABB had not yet discussed the possibility of purchasing the charging network, however he did note that ownership of such infrastructure did not fall under ABB’s typical sphere of activity.

Editor: Aili Sarapik

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