ZAPTEC investing in Swedish electric car boom
Forecasts from the industry group Power Circle show that Sweden will have up to 2.5 million rechargeable vehicles on its roads by 2030. Now ZAPTEC is looking to get involved and contribute to the positive development taking place in the country next door.
During the course of just a few years, ZAPTEC’s smart charging solutions have taken a leading position in the world-leading, Norwegian electric car market. Now the time has come to expand across borders – earlier this year we established our Swedish subsidiary, ZAPTEC Sweden.
Interest in rechargeable vehicles is growing rapidly amongst our neighbours just over the border to the east, and at the beginning of the year there were around 70,000 electric and hybrid cars driving on Sweden’s roads.
Forecasts from the Swedish electric power industry group Power Circle show that the country is now on the starting blocks for an electric car boom that will seriously take off over the next decade. By 2030, it is expected that up to 2.5 million rechargeable vehicles will be out and about on Sweden’s roads.
An exciting partnership
When moving into a new and exciting market, there will always be new challenges to solve and new opportunities to be grasped. The key to success is familiarity and knowledge, which is why ZAPTEC has entered into an agreement to become a partner in Power Circle’s industry network.
‘It will be exciting to see how ZAPTEC fits into our network. It’s interesting for us to gain international perspectives, and I think we can learn a lot from ZAPTEC and their experiences in the Norwegian market,’ says Power Circle E-mobility Expert Daniel Kulin.
‘At the same time, ZAPTEC will also receive help from our network to get a measure of the Swedish market and to understand the political landscape setting the parameters of electric car developments in Sweden,’ he adds.
Positive electric car development
As the industry group for Sweden’s electrical power industry, Power Circle works to highlight and increase knowledge relating to the potential and opportunities offered by electrical power, increase the capacity for electrification in the transport sector, and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and skills between relevant market operators.
The Swedish energy industry has traditionally not been naturally connected to the transportation sector since the country is dependent on importing all fuel, but with the introduction of electric cars and new, intelligent technology, Kulin has observed an industry shift.
‘The power industry is very interested in finding new business opportunities related to e-mobility,’ Kulin notes.
He believes that this is one of the reasons why forecasts now show that electric car development in Sweden – in line with Norway – is following a positive S-curve.
‘Granted, Norway’s S-curve is both sharper and earlier, but we have good conditions to bring about consistent and explosive development here in Sweden,’ says Kulin, emphasising that Swedish development is taking place at the same pace as – or perhaps somewhat faster than – the rest of Europe.
So far, the consumer market is leading the way, but Power Circle’s E-mobility Expert claims that development in the business market will explode within the next few years – especially in industries such as transportation and construction, where vehicles are used frequently.
Translation: The prognosis for the EV marketshare in the category newly sold cars. Pink: the samle space. Pink dots: the trend in Norway. Black dots: the world prognosis. Pink stipled line: the prognosis of EV’s (in Sweden.
(Copy: Electric car situation 2018 – Power Circle)
Important for someone to take the lead
Kulin believes that Sweden can learn a lot from the world-leading electric car initiatives we have seen in Norway, but also points out that there are many advantages to being one of the countries following just behind.
‘It’s important for someone to take the lead – if they don’t, we have no one to learn from. Norway has done a lot right – but we have the opportunity to adjust the things we see could have been done differently.’
One example he refers to is the expansion of the country’s charging infrastructure. Sweden’s power network has a high capacity and there are more operators working on smart solutions for load balancing. This means that the country is able to facilitate charging opportunities to a greater extent as development takes place.
‘Expansion is probably a bit more organic here than in Norway, where it’s been somewhat portioned up. Because Norway is paving the way, all development requires a high willingness to engage with risk, while we can build based on market interest,’ he adds.
Major buyer demand
Positive developments in Swedish electric car sales are reflected in the expansion of the country’s charging infrastructure. To date in 2019, Kulin and Power Circle have observed a steady trend in terms of investments in charging facilities.
‘I think we have a mentality where we embrace the new and see electrification of the transportation sector as an improvement. There is, without a doubt, major buyer demand. I have seen housing cooperatives where no one owns an electric car, but where nonetheless they have invested in charging points for all parking spaces,’ says Kulin.
He believes that this mentality may be an advantage for ZAPTEC in the Swedish market.
Swedish producers of charging solutions are still working in small volumes, while ZAPTEC has the edge of having built itself up in a market where growth has been enormous. They have the ability to produce large volumes, which will be advantageous for them.
Further growth requires increased capacity and skills
In order to maintain the positive development in the electric car market, Kulin hopes that Sweden will retain the support schemes that currently exist.
Swedish electric car owners can at present use a bonus-malus system that ensures that individuals who invest in an electric car receive a grant of up to SEK 60,000. This scheme will be revised during the course of the coming year, but according to Power Circle’s E-mobility Expert, there is nothing to suggest that support for electric cars will be reduced – quite the opposite, in fact.
‘It is true that we do not have subsidies and grants for the purchase of new cars that are as generous as those in Norway. Around 350,000 new cars are sold in Sweden annually, and even if there are ever-cheaper models coming out, we still see that it is primarily individuals with strong buying power who invest in electric cars,’ Kulin says.
However, he believes that the most important thing for development is further investment in capacity and skills to support the electrification of the transportation sector.
‘Sweden is a country with a strong auto industry, but we need new skills – in engineering, for example. It is important to create broad support systems in society,’ he believes.
‘When Volvo launches its first electric car, the Swedes will realise this is for real. So I hope it doesn’t take too long!’