Bulgaria and German firm sign memo on 140M euro investment in electric car plant

On behalf of the Bulgarian government, caretaker Economy Minister Kiril Petkov signed a memorandum on July 10 with German-based startup Next.e.Go Mobile on an 140 million euro investment in the construction of an electric car manufacturing plant in Lovech, reports said.

The Invest Bulgaria Agency is also a party to the memorandum.

Petkov said that the investment would create 1000 jobs, and many more among suppliers.

It is expected that the first cars will be produced at the end of 2023. More than one version of the firm’s cars will be produced in Bulgaria.

The plant’s capacity will be about 30 000 units a year.

The cars are made of aluminium and the top will be covered with a special plastic.

The aluminium construction of the electric car will be produced by Bulgarian company Etem, and the cables at the Yazaki plant in Yambol.

The starting price of the electric car produced in Bulgaria by the German Next.e.GO Mobile will be 20 000 euro, the briefing was told.

The company said that the electric car was designed for urban motoring. Its 200km range was 10 times the average mileage in an urban environment, the company was quoted as saying.

“A big advantage of this model is that it does not need a special charging station. This can be done from a normal contact, for example in the garage, and the charging time is six hours,” Petkov said.

At the briefing, the media was told that it had taken five weeks to clarify the parameters of the agreement and attract the German investor to Bulgaria.

According to Petkov, three other countries had wanted to attract the investment, but Bulgaria had an advantage because all parts could be produced in Bulgaria.

The investor will build the plant solely using its own funds.

“In terms of incentives for this investment, not a single euro, not a single lev will be given by the Bulgarian side before the first car is produced,” Petkov said.

Reportedly, the memorandum provides that the incentives, adding up to 34 million euro, would be provided in three stages, the first after the first car is produced, the second after the production of the first 10 000 units, and the third after the production of 20 000 cars.

“We do not give money in advance. If the investor does not meet these criteria within seven years, it will not receive incentives,” Petkov said.

“In reality, from the taxes that the investor will pay and from the insurances for the workers, the state will receive much more than it will give,” he said.

The chairman of the automotive cluster in Bulgaria, former president Rossen Plevneliev, expressed gratitude to Petkov for his work in attracting the German manufacturer to Bulgaria, reports said.

“I never imagined that in just five weeks a minister, from a caretaker government, could do so much work to produce such an investment. I am very proud of you,” Plevneliev said.

Plevneliev thanked businessman Kiril Domuschiev, whose site is where the German plant will be built.

The site is the location of the former Balkan machine manufacturing plant in Lovech. Largely empty for several years, the plant has small-scale production of parts for bicycles and forklifts.

(Photo of an Next.e.Go Life Concept Cross, launched in 2020: Next.e.Go Mobile)

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