The draft Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels passed the first reading in the Sejm. The only objection to further work on the bill was expressed by Krzysztof Sitarski, a representative of Kukiz’15. However, this objection was withdrawn after Michał Kurtyka, Undersecretary of State in the Ministry of Energy, gave explanations. Thus, the bill was submitted to the parliamentary committees. It will be handled by the Committee for Energy and State Treasury and the Committee for Infrastructure.
In the questions to the representative of the Ministry of Energy, MPs focused on the small financial incentives contained in the bill, the necessity to expand the loading infrastructure, and the possibility of creating special clean transport zones in cities. Almost every group raised issues related to the promotion and popularisation of fuel cell technologies in transport.
Act on Electromobility as perceived by the former Minister of the Environment
What does Marcin Korolec, the former Minister of the Environment and today the President of the Foundation for the Promotion of Electric Vehicles, think about the works conducted so far on the Act on Electromobility and Alternative Fuels?
The former minister does not want to criticise the bill because, as he says, “it is easy”, but wants it to be well and transparently prepared. He points out that the most important thing in the work on the act was to clarify the definition of electric vehicles and other so-called low-emission vehicles, which may also be entitled to benefit from privileges. Korolec added that issues related to the construction of the charging network were not clear to him.
In an interview with BiznesAlert.pl, he referred to the issue that the bill does not specify whether anyone who has an idea for a business model, that may be innovative, but will not want to join the public network of charging stations will be able to benefit from regulations that remove the obligation to apply for an energy trading license. Marcin Korolec is also concerned that leaving local governments with a gateway to avoid introducing clean transport zones and the possibility of abandoning the purchase of modern low-emission public transport fleets will slow down the process of change.
“Exemption from excise duty as an incentive? insignificant”
Another issue is that of incentives. According to the former minister, 3.1% of excise duty is an amount that will not be significant for those planning to purchase an electric vehicle. Nor will it encourage those who are hesitant. When asked what he thought about the relatively little attention paid to the electrical design of bicycles or electric commercial vehicles during the works on the project, he said that there had been rumours that the manufacturers of components for combustion vehicles were slowly preparing to switch production of components for electrified transport.
It can be said that commercial vehicles were omitted in the work on the act. According to Marcin Korolec, subsidies from e.g. BGK or NFOŚiGW (National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management) should be provided for small commercial vehicles. He suggests that it is necessary to support the purchase of passenger, commercial, and utility vehicles, as well as scooters. “If we are substituting oil for locally produced electricity, this element can hit air pollution and reduce smog. At the same time, the industry creates jobs and generates an impact on the economy.”
The fundamental question raised by the former minister is: to what extent the governments are aware of the need for investment now to be able to talk about profits in the perspective of 2030 or 2050.
The government should support domestic electric bus manufacturers
The Brussels-based think thank Transport and Environment mentioned by Marcin Korolec, proves that electric cars in Poland emit less CO2 with the Polish shape of energy mix than diesel cars. The interviewee pointed out that not only emissions from the exhaust pipe were taken into account, but also the whole process of obtaining and processing crude oil. Answering the question concerning the order of works on the dissemination of electric solutions in transport, he said that it was justified to promote Polish bus manufacturers. “The Polish production base of domestic producers, such as Solaris or Ursus, who are already known not only in Europe, should be supported. Rafako that is undergoing a technological transformation, and is starting its activity may also be known soon. We also have European producers in Poland such as: Volvo, Scania or MAN. The fact that we now have European resources puts us in a privileged position. It is worth taking advantage of this.”
Used diesel cars from the West are a hazard
Marcin Korolec said that the Polish target was not one million electric cars in 2025. “The Polish target should be 95% of approximately 16 million cars in Poland by 2050. So, the construction of the planned 6,400 charging stations is just a prelude to what is to happen after that date.”
According to Korolec, incentives are also needed because “Poland has no major barriers to the import of diesel combustion cars that will be withdrawn from the markets of other Member States. Countries that aggressively promote electromobility. Poland may be flooded with cars unwanted in Europe.” He added that “we do not have the luxury of time, we must get involved now because otherwise we will get a backfire. The fewer cars drive around Copenhagen, Paris or Brussels, the more cars can get onto our market.” He stressed that they would be cheap and easily accessible. “The value of the combustion vehicles will be low. It is a difficult task to introduce barriers of this kind in the single European market.” According to Korolec, it will be legally challenging and politically difficult to deal with the wave of used combustion cars if they appear in our country.