Slovenian Companies See Future in Electric Cars
The global car market share of electric vehicles is less than 1%. However, the Slovenian suppliers see great prospects in this market segment. About 60 companies with more than 20,000 employees are united into the automotive cluster of Slovenia (Slovenski avtomobilski grozd). In 2015, their income was almost 4 billion euros, which is 1/5 of all Slovenian exports.
Kolektor (2,300 employees) is the world’s largest manufacturer of switching systems. The Company develops products for electric and hybrid vehicles: the controllers and rotors for the electric water pump motors, controllers for electronic engines and other parts. This production accounts for 10% of total Group sales.
Hidria ranks the third in the world top manufacturers of ignition systems for diesel engines. As the Company’s director Iztok Seljak has stated in the ‘Breaking Point’ TV-show, Hidria specializes in the development of new hybrid brands such as Renault, Audi, Chrysler, and electric cars. The Company’s share in the production of rotors and starters is 20–30% of the European market. Hidria is actively cooperating with local and foreign researchers. Sales of components for hybrid and electric vehicles brings about 6 million euros of the total sales volume, which makes 220 million euros. Iztok Seljak predicts that by 2025 the share of sold electric vehicles will reach 30%, which will enable Hidria earn 0.5 billion euros.
The Mahle Letrika Company (1,900 employees) expects that its market share of manufacturing components for electric cars will grow from 10% to 50% in the next 10 years.
The Elaphe Company (60 employees) also relates to the fast-growing high-tech companies in the electrical automotive industry. In just a few years, the Company has become one of the three world’s leading manufacturers of the motors embedded into the electric car wheels. To date, the Elaphe has developed 15 wheel type electric motors. The access to the Asian market has been made possible thanks to the cooperation with the Chinese company APG, a manufacturer of automotive brake systems. The Chinese have invested 10 million euros into the Slovenian company Elaphe. Now both companies jointly build a plant in China.
In Slovenia, electric vehicles are still rare. Only 400 households have such vehicles. According to Rajko Dolinšek, one of the REUS study authors, only 9% of households would agree to purchase an electric vehicle. A number of reasons that stop the potential customers are a short distance that can be overcome with a single charge, a small amount of places for charging and a relatively high price. The cheapest electric car costs around 20,000 euros, while it is possible to get a subvention from the Eco Fund for 7,500 euros.