Article about electromobility in Albania, Tirana Case
written by Brikena TARE, Project Coordinator
Albania is an upper middle income country.
According to the World Bank, CO2 emissions (metric tons per capita) was 1, 98 as of 2014.
If we consider the vehicle fleet in Albania, major part of vehicles run on diesel basis. The second-hand vehicles, which could have a significant old age, do comprise a significant part of all the registered vehicles. Data show that major part of LDVS, buses and trucks are 11-20 years old.
In a total of 527,602 vehicles fleet at the end of 2017, as per powertrain characteristics of vehicles, 24% are on petrol basis, 71% on diesel basis, and only 0.01% electric vehicles.
The mobility share in Albania shows that major part of people use walking for their daily trips.
Walking - 55%
Cycling - 3%
Public Transport - 18%
Own Vehicle - 24%
Preparing the infrastructure for EV
What the fans of electric cars are actually experiencing in Albania is the lack of infrastructure.
Though by Council of Ministers Resolution of 2014 all fuel station service areas has to be equipped with charging stations for EV, now four years later this is not done.
Currently in Tirana there are several charging stations, but they are built by private taxi operators or companies that sell electric cars.
The fiscal package, already prepared by the Minister of Finance and Economy, which will accompany the 2019 draft budget, foresees to reduce the VAT at 10% for the electric public transport buses to be imported.
Recently, Tirana Municipality has done a lot of improvements in infrastructure for cycling and public transport. So, new dedicated bicycle lanes are built or upgraded in a total of 13.3 km plus 140 bicycle parking places, bringing a growth in bicycle use (data referred to the end of 2017). Also, Mobike bicycle share has been introduced recently in Tirana, the second bicycle rent service already in town.
Regarding public transport, there are 5.1 km dedicated lanes for public transport buses, and others are in plan to be built or upgraded.
The city of Tirana is at the forefront of the electric vehicles revolution. Tirana City Council recently have produced some incentives for promotion of more friendly and clean taxi service. They intend to reduce the number of taxis with old production years, giving possibility to the licensing of new vehicles, hybrid and electric taxis.
Actually, Tirana Municipality is assessing the facilitating factors for public transport operators who would take the initiative of introducing electric buses. The latest approved urban transport line no. 16, to begin operating within 2019, will be with electric buses.
Also, Tirana Municipality plans that hopefully within the next four years Tirana citizens will be traveling to Rinas Airport and to the city of Durrës by electric train, first one for Albania.
Albania has become a member of the initiative "European Mobility Week" since 2002 showing its commitment to clean and sustainable urban transport.
In Tirana Municipality taxi fleet for a total of 1,144 taxis, only 27 or 2.36% are electric. 2.53% are gasoline + electric.
At present, car dealers in Tirana are increasingly having demands for hybrid motor vehicles that combine energy with fuel, but there are also requests for purchase of electric cars. One advantage that is emphasized by electric car fans is the low need for motor repairs, at a time when the poor quality of fuels in Albania is considered the main factor for car motor damages.
Still, the use of electric vehicles in Albania is simply symbolic. The air in many Albanian cities is beyond the allowed norms and using electric cars would help significantly in cleaning up the air. Driving an electrical vehicle is an actual demand and a world trend. This means less spending on the state budget, as clean air means fewer illnesses and fewer medical expenses.
Switching the Fleet to Electric Vehicles
Saytaxi is the first ever taxi company in Albania that offers electric vehicles since 2016 and operates a fast EV (electric vehicles) charging point. The company has become a pioneer of environmentally friendly car service in Tirana.
Their fleet counts currently 17 electric vehicles, while they expect to add 30 more soon. The service can simply become yours thanks to the SayTaxi (get a cab now!) App on iOS and Android.
Since 2017, Green Taxi, another taxi service that uses only electric cars operates in Tirana.
“An excellent service and a cleaner city” is their job slogan in Green Taxi.
Meanwhile, electronic developments have also brought the Fast Charger, a special cable, which reduces the full charging time in 30 minutes.
Electric cars still cost more than a taxi driver can afford, so the company allows their drivers to pay the vehicle lease with the money they save from going electric.
Also, there are some taxi drivers who have purchased electric cars and offer this service outside the taxi companies.
But all of this technology and electric vehicles are not being used just to provide a ride. It’s much more than that. It’s changing the way people are moved around the country, bringing attention to environmental and noise pollution.