EV developments across Europe
Our European Business Development Manager, Andrew Wilson discusses his recent travels to our European offices. He looks at the EV landscape and how our MHC Mobility teams across Europe are at the forefront of mobility and electromobility solutions and innovations, assisting customers in their step towards net zero.
I joined MHC Mobility as European Business Development Manager in January 2021, in the middle of a Covid-19 lockdown, with all my working relationships formed online. Whilst video conferencing is fantastic in allowing meetings to feel more normal, it’s not the same as a face-to-face meeting. This led to my recent travels across Europe to visit some of the MHC Mobility subsidiaries for the first time and experience their different operations in person. In total, I travelled over 5,800 kilometres, using various modes of transport, not just planes, trains, and automobiles, but eScooters, eBikes, eMopeds, and even an eVan utility vehicle.
I started my travels in Hamburg, Germany at the MHC Mobility Germany headquarters. The German business has a network of nine sites across Germany, in all of the major cities, so a site is never too far away. MHC Mobility Germany offers a one-stop shop approach for customers, with in-house capabilities for rental, lease, and mobility products, as well as the necessary equipment and training to maintain electric vehicles (EVs), and maintenance services. I was immediately impressed by the facilities and the professionalism of the team.
The current EV landscape in Germany is one of potential, with the German government planning to have up to 15 million e-vehicles on Germany’s roads by 2030. However, this would require a steep incline as there are currently fewer than one million vehicles. There are several deterrents in the current landscape, including complicated EV funding programmes, insufficient public charging infrastructure, a lack of fast chargers, and e-vehicles being particularly expensive, despite government subsidies. The government, however, is working to improve this and is due to roll out a Germany-wide fast charging network called the “Deutschlandnetz” (The Germany Network). This will consist of publicly accessible HPC fast charging sites on both motorways and in urban, suburban, and rural areas, which they hope will increase uptake.
With this large-scale rollout, I feel the EV market in Germany has the ability for strong growth over the next few years. I left Hamburg feeling encouraged and proud of MHC Mobility Germany and its people. The team is leading the way in its e-mobility offerings and level of customer support, informing customers about available government subsidies, and offering the necessary charging infrastructure, making the transition to electric as smooth as possible for customers.
I then headed to Warsaw, home to MHC Mobility Poland and the regional Headquarters for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). The other teams in CEE are based in Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, and are governed by the senior management team in Warsaw. This helps them operate efficiently and ensures consistency across shared processes, systems, products, and services.
According to many studies, Poland is distinctly behind other European countries in regard to its EV adoption. However, my time at Poland’s recent ‘The Mobility Day: A journey to the future of mobility’ event, suggested attitudes are shifting. There was a real enthusiasm from all the attendees I spoke to about the EV products on display and discussions about how they could start to introduce them into their fleets.
One of the key barriers to uptake of EV adoption in Poland is the charging infrastructure, with many attendees voicing this as their key concern. However, the government is starting to initiate change, introducing a new support package that has led to a huge amount of interest in EVs, as well as requiring by law that new buildings have charging points in their parking lots. Despite the barriers, I feel there is a determination in Poland to make the transition to electric happen, with MHC Mobility leading the way to support customers in electrifying their fleets and on their journey to decarbonisation.
The next stop was in Ghent, Belgium. I found the team had great enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit – it was great to see all the team busy on the phones and passionate about what they are doing. MHC Mobility Belgium adapts to the country’s distinct regions, each with its own government, culture, and language, with sales employees who speak Dutch, Flemish, French, and English.
Belgium is currently one of the most expensive places to purchase an EV in Europe and has a lack of availability of EVs. However, the government has announced that from July 2023, it will begin to considerably decrease the fiscal deductibility of zero-emission cars. This has led to a rise in demand for EVs and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), making up roughly 30% of new orders. The government is also offering a 200% deductibility on the installation of EV charging networks if they are made semi-public, which has also incentivised uptake. Belgium’s favourable fiscal framework for corporate mobility and a large percentage of private driveways, ideal for private charging points, combined with these government incentives, provides the country with a strong foundation to further develop its EV transformation. The team, alike its European counterparts, is leading the way in this change. It has recently won numerous new customers and new opportunities that are being worked on.
The final stop on my tour was the MHC Mobility Rotterdam office. MHC Mobility Netherlands has four offices across the country, in Groningen, Eindhoven, Heerhugowaard and Rotterdam. The Netherlands is very advanced in terms of electromobility, and mobility as a service (MaaS), compared to the rest of Europe, with steps taken by the Netherlands government significantly accelerating the transformation to EV.
Although EVs have a high purchase cost in the Netherlands, the uptake, albeit impacted by this, is continuing to rise. At the beginning of 2022, there was a 38% increase in EVs / hybrids compared to the previous year. I believe that due to the well-developed charging infrastructure and high population density, it has been easier to roll out mobility solutions here than in other European countries.
MHC Mobility Netherlands’ commitment to MaaS was displayed in its recent acquisition of Mobility Mixx, a Dutch-based MaaS provider, making it a wholly owned subsidiary. This will allow the Netherlands team to offer customers more integrated, flexible, and sustainable mobility in the area. Following the local sales calls that I attended, I noticed that both customers and potential customers have a real interest in the mobility products offered. It’s great to see that MHC Mobility is leading the way in many areas and providing fantastic solutions to customers across Europe.
On reflection on my recent trip, I feel an overwhelming sense of pride, in both the business and the European teams, who are doing such fantastic jobs growing MHC Mobility and establishing it as a recognised and trusted brand.
My trip has confirmed that despite the European landscape remaining imbalanced in its transition to EVs, there is an increasing demand, with MHC Mobility at the forefront of mobility and electromobility solutions and innovations. We are leaders in the industry for electromobility and MaaS, winning business due to our exceptional, personalised customer service. We are flexible and agile, which helps us to respond and adapt quickly to changing customer needs and market trends. I believe that to prevent local barriers from further affecting the EV market development, local governments need to increase their collaborations with local mobility and charging providers.
I am looking forward to meeting more of my European colleagues over the coming months and working together to increase the uptake of EVs, assisting customers in their step towards net zero.