Trnava, Slovakia, Sept 11, 2019 (AFP)
Slovakia's prime minister on Wednesday promised incentives for foreign automakers who choose to produce electric cars in the country, which relies heavily on its large auto sector.
Insisting that it was "crucial" for global carmakers operating in Slovakia to launch electric car production on its soil, Peter Pellegrini pledged "all available tools to support this production."
"These tools may include direct financial support for the purchase of technologies, or in combination with tax reliefs," the premier said.
Pellegrini spoke to journalists as he tested the fully electric Peugeot 208 model made by French Groupe PSA Slovakia in Trnava, a town around 100 kilometres (62 miles) northeast of the capital Bratislava.
The PSA Trnava plant, which employs 4,500 people, launched the mass production of its new e-208 model, an all-electric five-door hatchback, on Wednesday.
Four global carmakers operate in Slovakia, the world's largest per capita car producer.
The auto sector generates some 300,000 jobs, making it by far the largest employer in the eurozone country of 5.4 million.
Last year, more than a million combustion engine cars rolled off its assembly lines, while exports totalled 3.7 billion euros ($4.3 billion).
Overall, the car-making sector accounts for 44 percent of Slovakia's total industrial production and 35 percent of its exports.
Experts expect the electric car sector to boom worldwide in the coming decade.
Juraj Baksa, a Bratislava-based expert on electric vehicles and founder of the teslamagazin.sk e-car website, believes that to meet increasing demand and emission targets global car manufacturers will be inclined to use existing capacity at their Slovak plants to produce e-cars.
Volkswagen Slovakia is already manufacturing the Volkswagen e-up electric car at its Bratislava plant. More models are to be added next year, including the Skoda twin e-Citigo.
Kia Slovakia is expected to begin producing the Ceed Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid and XCeed Plug-in Hybrid at the beginning of 2020.
Jaguar Land Rover, the fourth car-maker in Slovakia, plans to start producing Plug-in Hybrid Land Rover Defender cars next year in Nitra, western Slovakia.
Sumber : AFP