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Slovenian suppliers talk e-mobility cooperation with Volkswagen

Wolfsburg, 18 December (STA) - Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek and representatives of Slovenian automotive industry suppliers paid a visit on Wednesday to the headquarters of the Volkswagen Group in Wolfsburg. The visit was designed to boost cooperation, especially in e-mobility, and Volkswagen was also presented investment opportunities in Slovenia.

Tanja Mohorič, the head of the Automotive Cluster of Slovenia (ACS), said that the visit opened up new opportunities for cooperation to members of the strategic research and innovation partnership for mobility in Slovenia.

"We presented to Volkswagen the partnership numbering over 100 members, and potential areas of cooperation, from technologies for green and more efficient propulsion of vehicles to solutions for digitalisation of mobility," she added.

The automotive industry in Slovenia generates EUR 4.1 billion in revenue a year, with 285 companies with a total of 16,400 employees contributing 10% of the country's GDP. In addition to the EU, the key markets are Mexico, Turkey, the UK and the US.

For this reason, Mohorič noted that Volkswagen had been presented the competences of Slovenian suppliers in terms of the quality of production processes and supply chains, as important elements in making a decision to include a new supplier in the concern.

Minister Počivalšek said that the slowdown of economic growth should be understood as a challenge. "We need to recognise opportunities for growth in the green economy, of which e-mobility is a part, as soon as possible."

According to him, there are also opportunities in the development of batteries, digitalisation of cars and road infrastructure, new materials and technology.

Asked why Volkswagen, Počivalšek said that the "concern is strongly focused on vehicles of the future, which include electric propulsion, digital networks and autonomous driving. A total of 13 members of the ACS cooperate with it."

The minister told the STA that the visit had discussed innovative solutions for carbon-neutral society and e-mobility, adding that "only those who are able to follow this trend will be able to participate", referring to the ACS members.

"I can say that Slovenian suppliers are getting intensively adjusted to the new trends," he said, adding that the slowdown of the automotive sector was actually its transformation towards carbon-neutral society and e-mobility.

The Slovenian state incentivises the purchase of electric vehicles with subsidies from the Eco Fund, which also provides grants to municipalities for setting up charging stations.

There are around 1,900 electric vehicles registered in Slovenia, and the country's public network numbers 319 charging stations.

Another 50 public charging stations are planned by 2023, and a co-funding scheme for private charging stations for legal entities is planed to be launched next year.

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