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Economy

Electric Car Maker Next Picks Greece for 100-Million-Euro Investment

December 16, 2020

ATHENS — Following Tesla, the world’s dominant electric car maker which plans an opening in Greece, Next.e.GO Mobile SE is expected to announce a 100-million-euro ($122 million) investment as the New Democracy government plans incentives.

Ulrich Hermann, CEO of the Aachen, Germany based carmaker  will sign a memorandum of understanding with Deputy Foreign Minister for Economic Diplomacy Kostas Frangogiannis at an online event Dec. 16, said Kathimerini.

The newspaper, citing other media reports, added that the company, which makes the e.GO Life electric car, wants to set up a factory in Greece, the news a boost in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic for Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

He has been trying to lure the return of foreign investors held off by the former ruling anti-business Radical Left SYRIZA which was soundly beaten by the Conservatives in July 7, 2019 snap elections.

The company, which was originally founded in 2015 by Prof. Dr. Günther Schuh, was reportedly earlier this year transferred to the Dutch investment group ND Industrial BV after falling into financial trouble and has about 450 workers.

As Greece prepares big financial incentives for buyers of electric cars – hoping those will make up a third of the sector by 2030 Tesla is recruiting for its planned opening in the country.

With demand for its cars growing, and other major automakers rapidly expanding – General Motors wants all its cars to become electric – Tesla is expanding in Europe, and Greece is seen as a good market.

The company is looking to fill positions of Sales & Delivery Manager and Tesla Advisor., said the site Tesmanian, noting the jobs are for an Athens office and that the vehicles will soon be sold in the country.

Tesla owner Elon Musk said that, “Demand is not a problem, definitely not. We do have some production supply chain challenges we’re trying to solve right now. … So, yes, don’t worry about demand. That’s not the issue.”

The company stated that, “As we prepare for our exciting new entry in to Greece, we are looking to recruit a Sales & Delivery Manager to lead our brand new team in Athens,” and advisors to meet with customers.

The site Teslarati said that, “In February, company executives were in talks with Greek authorities to bring a series of vehicle superchargers that would span from Portugal, through Greece, to Turkey.” Superchargers do typically lead or closely follow Tesla stores into a new market, said Clean Technica.

GOING GREEN

Mitsotakis’ government is pushing for Greece to turn toward using electric cars.

The first phase of the plan foresees financial incentives for individuals and corporations to switch to green cars, the government setting aside 100 million euros ($122 million) to help purchases of electric cars over the next 18 months, it was said in August.

The subsidy will cover an estimated 25 percent of the purchase of 14,000 new electric cars, he said, to give buyers an incentive to buy them and help lower the cost.

He said tax breaks coming from the government would further make buying electric cars attractive to buyers as well as companies and that the vehicles will be exempt from the road tax for two years while the cost of recharging would be deductible in annual tax filings.

Among the incentives is 1,200 euros ($1464.47) in tax breaks for individuals and 2,480 euros ($3026.57) for company cars that, combined with the incentives of a bill passed last year for low-emission cars, the total savings for corporate electric vehicles will reach 3,500 euros ($4271.36) said Kathimerini.

In an attempt to create a greener transportation system on the tiny but popular Greek island of Astypalea, Volkswagen is going to provide electric vehicles and scooters.

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and Greece's Deputy Foreign Minister Konstantinos Fragogiannis signed a memorandum of understanding at a virtual event for the project on the Aegean island that has only 1,334 residents but is favored by tourists who prefer out-of-the way quiet places.

Astypalea has little public transport available, only two buses and coal is the major source of power in 2020.

The project, which will initially run for six years, will see part of the island's vehicle rental service transformed into a ride-sharing service offering electric cars and e-scooters. Commercial and public sector vehicles will also be switched to electric, it was reported, but no details were given.

The project will involve replacing about 1,500 internal combustion engine vehicles with around 1,000 electric cars and scooters and VW will put Elli chargers at some 230 public and private charging points.

"Our long-term goal is climate-neutral mobility for everyone," Diess said. "And with the Astypalea project we will explore how to realize that vision already today,” as major car manufacturers are moving toward an electric future.

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