Efficiency is the pragmatic driving force behind the purchase of electric vehicles in Albania.
This efficiency is only achieved if the introduction of electromobility is perceived as a project that has an ultimate end, the benefit of the society as a whole, either on the economic aspect or the environmental one. To achieve the required efficiency in an under development socioeconomic terrain, such is the Albanian, you have to put a lot of effort, as the level of professionalism has to be the maximum it can.
I pointed out professionalism as the utmost virtue in this sector of the industry as the whole industry is under structure, and in order for the common people to perceive its true value, the entity that provides electromobility has to be of high professional integrity. This is necessary as people can be skeptic about a method of transportation they are not used to. It would be fatal, if in a country of Albania’s standard, regarding social and economic capability, was introduced an electromobilty project of low qualifications, regarding the efficiency level of the project, as perceived from the outcome, and its value to the general perception of electromobility in total. At this moment, it should be pointed out that every project presented in Albania regarding electromobility, has the professional responsibility to succeed, otherwise it is damaging every other effort that is initiated with the goodwill to benefit the society in this aspect.
A specific case that demonstrates the effect of the irresponsibility of an entity that engages itself in the electromobility section in Albania, is the case of “Police e-Golf Fiasco”, as it is widely known.
The General Police of Tirana inspired by the developments of electromobility in the capital city related with the activity of electric taxi service provided by Say Taxi, and in parallel with the general vision of central authorities for the projection of electromobility as the core method of transportation, decided to invest their resources in a pilot project that would provide the electric vehicles in the service of police.
The concept that was presented to Police by an open call from AutoYou to public institutions in its effort to present public administration and services with the possibilities that electromobility generates. The section regarding efficient mobility was adapted to the needs of police in the aspect of productivity and cost management. The project calculated the operational cost per shift of the police fleet, consisted of 20 Chevrolets, and concluded that police could outperform their current operational system if their turned their fleet into electric vehicles. The concept of the project, proposed that 1 electric police vehicle would be able to perform the same duties with 2 Chevrolets regarding the operational cost, practically meaning that the cost of putting into service an electric police vehicle would be half of that required for the current police vehicle, which in the case being is Chevrolet, but the same concept is applicable with any internal combustion engine brand.
Volkswagen Albania interfered into the project, and with the status of Volkswagen dealer, it guaranteed the same concept of the project with competitive prices. The lobbying ability of Volkswagen in accordance to its competitive offer resulted in succeeding to provide the Police of State with electric vehicles, but at a great cost; they did not offer the Police a project of electromobility. In Albania it is a common phenomenon for companies to abuse with their commercial power and to create operational disasters due to their unprofessional approach in conducting business and their greed to interfere with projects of highly calculated parameters. The combination of both these “qualities” of Volkswagen became apparent after the whole project came to be a total fiasco! Not only was the police e-Golf vehicle unable to displace 2 police Chevrolets, in the aspect of cost-efficiency and performance, but it damaged the operational system of the police department, and at the same time it gave a fatal strike to the electromotive perspective of the Albanian institutions.
This disaster came by the fact that Volkswagen Albania acted as a mere dealer, while the electromobility cases have a specific sensitivity that has to be dealt with the responsibility of a project. The Police of State was provided with 10 e-Golf vehicles, which is in accordance with the specifications of the project, but with the difference that 7 out of 10 electric vehicles did not have the quick charge option. For the common ear, this may not sound such dramatic, but when you deal with electromobility, and when you have a specific objective, these “little” options in the vehicle, may prove to be the most important components that guarantee the success of the project. As a matter of fact, YES, the quick-charge option was a pre-requisite for all the electric vehicles of police, in order for the electromobility project to reach its potential, and for police to have its duty done with half the vehicles it currently occupies. The result of the so called project that Volkswagen Albania offered to Police is known by now, and I may safely state that it is a fiasco! Each e-Golf police vehicle needs approximately 8 hours to be fully charged, instead of 20min required for quick charge, meaning that it loses the flexibility of disposition and constant circulation, and practically its advantage of low cost operation turns into disadvantage from the fact that it can perform duties for only one shift.
This means that Volkswagen Albania acted upon a monolithic approach, and unable to create and sustain electromobility solutions for the institutional and the private sector, either from the fact that it lacks the human capital to make the required calculations, or due to their inability to perceive a reality from the electromotive perspective, they damaged the image of electromobility in Albania irreversibly. While Volkswagen Albania managed to sale a record of 10 e-Golf vehicles in an underdevelopment country such is Albania, they sacrificed the perspective of electromobility as they had the chance to unveil the true value of electromobility by its effective applicability in common reality.
Did it worth it? Did the demonstration of skills in sale from the Volkswagen Albania worth the cost of minimising the effectiveness of creating an electromotive market in the country? When the case is the effect of activity of international brands in the country, whose burden is the professional integrity of offering to the market the best suitable solutions? We are not cold-blooded calculators who seek just to maximize their profit, we are rather part of a bigger ecosystem, and should have the professional integrity to offer our services for bilateral benefits. It needs courage to acknowledge your inability to offer a specific service required, but it may benefit you in the future as you won’t be blamed for the failure of something, and most importantly when the stake is so high, a whole market won’t cease to exist due to your unprofessional behaviour!