Life As A Super Early EV Adopter & Now EV Entrepreneur In Poland (CleanTechnica Interview)

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Prepping for our big new EV charging conference* — November 6–8 in Warsaw, Poland — I’ve been interviewing EV charging leaders and general e-mobility leaders coming in to present and participate in panel discussions all about EV charging. You can find all of the interviews here if you’re concerned you’ve missed some.

Speakers are experts coming in from Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Ukraine, Slovakia, Namysłów, and elsewhere, making Tomasz Gać’s trip from nearby Łódz one of the easiest. But Tomek’s several years of EV ownership and now e-mobility entrepreneurship provide a great breadth and depth of experience. Tomek was one of the first 20 electric car owners in Poland — maybe even one of the first 5 or 10 — and is now a cofounder of Tesla Shuttle and ELMO Carsharing (I’m also a cofounder, as is Jacek Fior). He’s also long had a courier company that uses the Nissan LEAF he bought in 2013 and a solar installation company (in what is still a super nascent solar market).

Check out my questions for Tomek below and his interesting answers.

1. How has charging an electric car in Poland changed in the past 5 years? And 1 year?

In the last 5 years, charging in Poland has been really hard if you didn’t have your own charging point. However, these few (fewer than 10) quick chargers that we had were free. On the other hand, if something was broken in a quick charger, it was hard to find somebody who wanted to fix it quick or even could fix it at all. 🙂

On longer trips between Polish cities, you could spend a few hours at some kind of petrol station charging with a normal outlet and getting only 2 kWh per hour — so, those were really LONG TRIPS. 🙂

And, actually, nothing changed for a long time since 2013, when I bought my first EV.

Last year, was much better because we saw expansion of the Tesla Superchargers network here (now 3 in Poland, and soon will be 5) and just in the last few weeks there’s been a quick expansion of the GreenWay network — and this is a real game changer, but our drivers and company haven’t gotten use to it yet. Probably in the next few months we will change some processes and use more EVs in a more efficient way.

2. Do you think Polish EV charging infrastructure is nearly ready for the Model 3?

Now — no.

It is really hard to say when Model 3 will get to Poland and how many reservations we have here. I hope in the beginning of 2019 we will see the first cars. So I hope the infrastructure will then be ready.

3. Has the evolution of the automobile market sunk in with Polish city policymakers yet?

In cities — no. But fortunately with national policymakers, looks like it has. 🙂

4. What are the biggest challenges to e-mobility entrepreneurship in Poland right now? Are those different from places like Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and France?

Environmental awareness is lower in Poland, so if a company is trying to make EVs his key component of marketing or CSR policy, it will be hard to make it profitable, but it is changing slowly. 🙂 Also, till now we have no serious national or city support for EVs as they have in western countries — that should change next year.

5. How do you see the new Polish e-mobility plan influencing your e-mobility businesses (or not)?

We need to wait to see what the details of this e-mobility plan will be.

Looks like our present government is making different things happen in reality, so it should be working soon, and if so, it will at least create a better climate and people will be more aware of EVs — because they are not at the moment.

Thank You!

God Bless 🙂

*In case you’ve somehow missed it, CleanTechnica and GreenWay are co-hosting a Central & Eastern Europe EV charging conference in Warsaw November 6–8. We have EV charging leaders coming in from the Netherlands, Norway, Costa Rica, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden, the UK, and the USA to discuss ways of advancing EV charging and EV adoption both in the region and globally. We’ve also convened a working group to create a white paper on EV charging guidelines for cities. Join us in Warsaw! (Jump straight to the tickets here.)


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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