As reported a few days ago, my colleague Tomek Gać is “conquering” 12 Central & Eastern European countries in a Tesla. The home base — starting and ending country — is Poland, so we thought a handful of notes about Poland might be of use to kick things off.
Poland is still not anywhere close to California or Holland or Norway’s level of electric vehicle (EV) adoption or EV infrastructure, but it has improved considerably in the past year or so. In fact, when we created our just published report on EV Charging Guidelines for Cities, we stuck Wrocław, Poland, in as a positive case study. From that report:
“The city of Wroclaw in southwestern Poland has taken a multi-tiered approach to promoting e-mobility. In 2016, it put out a request for proposals (RfP) for an electric carsharing program to be implemented in the city, requiring a minimum of 200 electric cars. That program launched approximately a year later, in November 2017. The city did not directly provide the carsharing company with money, but it offered free parking for these as well as other electric cars in zones B & C of the city. For parking in zone A, an attractive discount was implemented: a 3 day pass costs 1zł, a 1 month pass costs 10zł, a 6 month pass costs 50zł, and a 1 year pass costs 100zł.
“Electric vehicles in Wroclaw can also use bus lanes and are allowed to drive on some streets where combustion vehicles cannot. For example, there’s a useful connection near the city center that cars and trucks cannot usually drive across (with police often set up there to catch and ticket violators, once even nabbing the mayor of the city). Electric vehicles can now drive in this location, a very practical and useful benefit for Wroclaw’s EV drivers.
“There has been limited charging infrastructure in Wroclaw for several years. One or two dozen charging stations were installed ahead of the market charging stations, primarily by a Polish company named Galactico. Some companies and shopping centers have also installed charging stations for employees and customers. Most recently, approximately a dozen stations were installed in a new parking garage at the Narodowe Forum Muzyki (The National Forum of Music). Currently, there are 280 electric vehicles registered in Wroclaw (as of November 1, 2017).”
One example of free, exclusive EV parking in a prime location in Wrocław — at a main government office in the city center where municipal weddings are held and marriage and birth certificates are collected.
In addition to Wrocław, a brand new GreenWay fast charging network that extends around Poland has made long-distance EV travel around the country much, much easier. Even with a Tesla, significant city-to-city travel was a serious challenge just a year ago. It would still be a notable help to have a more built out Supercharger network or other superfast charging, but it’s notable how much easier a decent network of fast chargers makes EV life.
Charging in cities can still be a serious challenge, though. There’s aren’t a high number of city charging stations in any city in Poland. Since most people live in condos/apartment buildings where home charging is primarily not an option, that leaves an EV adopter with quite a challenge. You have to get lucky and get workplace charging or you have to rely on the scattered 22 kW and below EV charging network you have in your city and the closest fast chargers.
In our case, we’ve gone from one “base charger” to another for various reasons, but the current one we primarily rely on is a GreenWay fast charger at a nearby mall. The key problem there is that it has just a CHAdeMO fast charging port (which our Tesla can use since we have an adapter), CCS fast charging port, and 22 kW AC charging port — if the station is in use or blocked, you’re out of luck. We haven’t had any very long waits so far, but we expect them to come.
Some of Tomek’s first pics from his trip were at a charging station in the very center of Poland. It’s a charger from large Polish utility PGE. The interesting note here is that it’s still the only EV charger from this giant electric utility.
We’ll have more notes from countries south of Poland later today or tomorrow. Is it a similar story? We’ll try to find out. Stay tuned.
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