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INTERVIEW - UniCredit Leasing CEO Аlexander Krustev talks e-mobility

INTERVIEW - UniCredit Leasing CEO Аlexander Krustev talks e-mobility Photo: UniCredit Leasing

Аlexander Krustev, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Management Board of UniCredit Leasing, discusses the state of the e-mobility market in Bulgaria, the prospects for its development and UniCredit Leasing's e-cars offer in The Renewable Energy Sector in Bulgaria report published by SeeNews and Gugushev & Partners Law Office.

E-mobility is still an underdeveloped segment of the Bulgarian leasing market. Could you give us more details on the current state of play? 

Differently from the western markets where this business is rapidly evolving, the EV segment locally has just recently started picking up steam. Still, notwithstanding the slow takeoff, the business is growing steadily larger and it is safe to say that the trajectory is clear. Nowadays, by and large, every car brand produces at least one EV model and more and more electric car options are on hand. 

It is worth noting that in August 2021 for the first time in Europe, the sales of EV and hybrid cars outpaced those of diesel-powered vehicles. This phenomenon amply demonstrates that consumers are attuning to the novel context. Obviously, this is also a consequence of the mounting pressure and stringent limitations on diesel engines planned by a number of governments in the coming years. 

Commensurate to Europe, the EV market in Bulgaria posts material growth in 2021. At the end of the third quarter, the number of purchased EV edged up by 50 pct. Yet, we have to admit that EVs are in every aspect a very niche product as we are nowhere near the western markets if we refer to the stock of registered vehicles in the country –close to 3,000 and making up merely 0.1% of the entire number of registered cars. 

While the benefits of the EV appear generally well-perceived, there are still a number of contextual factors that impede a massive upscale of the market in Bulgaria. Neither the underdeveloped infrastructure nor the substandard number of charging stations, let alone the contradictory data surrounding the lifespan of the batteries, are helping the EV market. What is further compounding the problem are the higher price of the electric powered cars and the lower income levels compared to other EU states. Clearly, we need to have additional government incentives to turn this niche product into one with mass appeal. 

Could leasing speed up e-mobility in Bulgaria? 

Leasing is a traditional formula for car acquisition or rental. Undoubtedly, the leasing industry can spur the development of the EV market. UniCredit is among the first leasing companies on the Bulgarian market to pioneer Green leasing. The service is easily accessible, simplified and fast. Our assumptions suggest a meaningful upscale in the e-car sales in the foreseeable future and we firmly believe we will be the trendsetter. 

Still, from my reading, the best way to expand e-mobility is to build up awareness of the footprint that each and every person or business has on the environment and alter the trend of the approaching adverse climate changes. 

How does this business segment perform within UniCredit Bulgaria and what are your expectations going forward?

Sustainability is an absolutely vital ingredient of the way we do business and assist our clients, communities, partners, and the industry at large by financing the transition to a lowcarbon future and more inclusive economy. 

Sustainable development, green economy, green mobility and the long-term impact that business leaves on the environment, are concepts that have become increasingly of the essence. Many corporate clients have long ago embarked on environment-caring strategies and programmes. Others followed relatively recently. It is evident these days that financial and non-financial institutions are more attentive to this element of their business models. 

Most of our clients see sustainability as a well-ingrained component in their growth strategy and daily business. We support both private individuals and companies in their aspirations to redefine their routines and switch to a more sustainable mobility. 

To maintain a sustainable market and actively address the needs and preferences of our customers, we keep on expanding our offer of ESG products, services and expert advisory. 

 What is the offer of UniCredit Leasing for e-cars?

UniCredit Leasing Bulgaria has pioneered a particular offer to champion the acquisition of electric cars. Latter encapsulates an option for financing without a down payment, payoff term of up to 6 years and compelling pricing. Furthermore, I am delighted to announce that jointly with our Insurance Broker arm, we have designed an exclusive insurance offer with special conditions. Central to the proposition is the roundthe-clock assistance in case of an insured event, preferential conditions for Third-party liability and Casco insurance. Besides, and I trust this is the most exciting and valuable part – we offer repatriation of the electric vehicle to the nearest charging station in the event of loss of charge. 

UniCredit Leasing kindly invites everyone interested in the proposition to visit the website unicreditleasing.bg

You can download the report here.

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