Sustainable transport is slowly but surely gaining ground also in the Western Balkan region. Belgrade-based company MT-KOMEX is building electric vehicle charging network in the region. Thanks to the partnership with Virta, MT-KOMEX can offer companies the opportunity to enter the growing EV charging market in an easy, smart and reliable way. Together with Virta, they are helping companies such as NIS Gazprom Neft, BMW and Heineken to futureproof their business.
The world is moving full force towards electrification. In Europe, already one in six registered passenger cars is a plug-in-vehicle (16.5%). The growth rate is staggering, as in 2019 the market share of plug-in vehicles was only 3.1%. Global plug-in vehicle sales reached over 3,2 Million in 2020 and it is estimated that by 2030, global electric vehicle (EV) sales will reach 43 million, i.e., 70% of all vehicles.
However, there are big differences between continents and countries. In Europe, Norway, Iceland and Sweden are leading the charge. In 2020, plug-in electric vehicles accounted for 74.8%, 45% and 32.2% of the car registrations, respectively. At the same time in Serbia, only about 300 fully electric cars are cruising throughout the country, together with 2000 hybrid vehicles.
But the future of mobility is electric also in the Western Balkan region. The Serbian government has announced that the purchases of electric and hybrid vehicles will be subsidized with one million euros in 2021, the same as in 2020.
“Sustainable transport is slowly but surely becoming mainstream in our country, too. E-mobility and EV charging business is expanding in Serbia and we are proud to be at the center of it”, says Miloš Kostić, the CEO of Belgrade-based company MT-Komex.
Mission: Build a charging network
MT-KOMEX is the undisputable forerunner in bringing e-mobility to the Western Balkan region. The company has almost three decades of experience in the construction of solar power plants. In the past ten years, they have gradually expanded their core business to include electric vehicle charging and have actively participated in building the charging network for electric vehicles in the Western Balkans.
“We realized very early on that in order for electric mobility to come to life in this region, it is necessary to develop an appropriate charging infrastructure”, recalls Kostić.
Along with technological changes in various industrial sectors, the company has also invested in adopting new skills and knowledge. MT-KOMEX’s engineers and technicians are trained to install chargers in residential and business units as well as in larger facilities with more demanding infrastructure, in parking lots, gas stations and corridors and highways.
Solutions, support and service in one package
Over the years MT-KOMEX has ended up earning the trust of car manufacturers and their representatives such as BMW, British Motors, Hyundai, Fiat, Renault as well as prominent companies such as NIS Gazprom Neft, Public company Roads of Serbia, NEPI Rockcastle, Heineken, along with the public garage companies, hotels, shopping malls and gas stations on Serbian highways.
“But it is not enough to just install the chargers. The EV drivers need an easy way to find those charging locations. As you know, unlike gas stations, charging stations do not yet exist on every street corner”, explains Kostić.
In order to put this idea into practice, his team started looking for a partner. According to Kostić, the team was very well informed about the available solutions at the e-mobility market globally. One of the solution providers was Virta.
Virta’s commitment to merge renewable energy and mobility as well as the extensive experience of running 1000 professional charging networks made Virta an interesting option for MT-KOMEX. Virta is also an expert in EV energy demand response solutions that will become increasingly important when EV markets expand and energy systems transition to renewables.
“Virta – as a global innovation leader and one of the world’s leading vehicle-to-grid technology providers - stood out. We were also impressed by the extensive support and service solution package that Virta offered”, says Kostić.
Kostić and his team contacted the Finnish Embassy in Belgrade, Serbia and the embassy helped MT-KOMEX to get in touch with the Virta team. And the rest is history.
“Soon the process of acquiring know-how started. Together we found the best approach to integrate Virta’s Charging Solution into MT-KOMEX’s business model. We are glad to say that the cooperation has been great, and our team has gotten valuable training”, states Kostić.
The first digital EV charging experience in the region
In cooperation with Virta, MT-KOMEX launched in 2020 the charge&GO platform, and a mobile application. The web platform gathers all the information about the charging network, charging methods, electric cars and MT-KOMEX service offering. Kostić is even more proud of the branded charge&GO mobile app which makes it easy for EV drivers to find available charging stations, start and end charging sessions as well as make in advance payment and reservation of the chosen charger.
With a help of Virta, MT-KOMEX is able to offer the only integrated EV charging solution in the Western Balkans region.
“The results of our cooperation with Virta are already fantastic: We have entered the market with our own brand and gotten clients and customers in a short time span. This is a tremendous outcome concerning the fact that EVs are still scarce in Serbia. As the number of EVs in Serbia is growing, we are getting more and more inquiries and new clients”, says Kostić.
Futureproofing NIS Gazprom Neft
One of MT KOMEX’s partners in the Western Balkan region is NIS Gazprom Neft.
NIS Gazprom Neft became the first oil and gas company in the Serbian market to offer EV charging at their gas stations along the highways.
“They recognized the possibilities, which is no wonder as they are a cutting-edge company. Together we are paving the way for e-mobility as their customers are becoming more familiar with the new EV concept and interested in being part of it”, explains Kostić.
For MT-KOMEX, the partnership is a win-win on many levels, strengthening company’s credibility and opening new doors and growth opportunities. MT-KOMEX plans to integrate every new NIS Gazprom Neft EV charger with the web platform and mobile app to give full support to EV drivers on the road. In addition, MT-KOMEX plans to jointly invest in EV chargers to accelerate EV charging through the charge&GO platform and expand the charging network in the Western Balkans region.
Reliability is the key to success
Now MT-KOMEX is concentrating on installing more EV chargers, especially on highways throughout Serbia and aims to make the charge&GO platform as the number one choice for EV charging in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia.
“Our partnership with Virta allows us to offer the opportunity to enter this market. All our client needs are EV chargers and electricity supply. The rest we provide – EV charging services, platform, branding, and naturally, know-how”, explains Kostić.
No wonder that the future looks busy for MT-KOMEX. In fact, the company needs to expand their team to serve all the new clients. But in the midst of growth, the company does not forget its mission.
“The most important thing to us is that we offer expertise, security - and above all, reliability. We have set that course 28 ago, and naturally, it is still our mission”, says Kostić.
MT-KOMEX wants to be worth of their customers trust every single day, with what they do and how the company delivers benefits to the customers.
“We are very proud of that. Our clients know that is what they will get, whether they want solar power plant for their facility or EV charging installation and integration into the chargo&GO platform.”
Reliability is something that according to Kostić cannot be stressed enough.
“The best thing about the Virta Charging Solution and our cooperation is the reliability: there is a whole system behind it, with the vast Virta team that backs you up. From the partners and customer’s point of view, that is the most critical thing”.
Belgrade-based company MT-KOMEX is building electric vehicle charging network in the Western Balkans. Early on, the company realized that it is not enough to just install the chargers. The EV drivers need an easy way to find the charging locations & charge their cars. In order to put this idea into practice, MT-KOMEX started looking for a partner.
Virta – as a global innovation leader and one of the world’s leading vehicle-to-grid technology providers - stood out. MT-KOMEX was also impressed by the extensive support and service solution package that Virta offered. Together they found the best approach to integrate Virta’s Charging Solution into MT-KOMEX’s business model. In cooperation with Virta, MT-KOMEX launched in 2020 the charge&GO platform, and a branded mobile application. As a result, MT-KOMEX was able to enter the market with their own brand and the business is growing fast. One of MT-KOMEX’s partners in the Western Balkan region is NIS Gazprom Neft.