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Sign of the times? E-car charging station installed in Budapest

What is perhaps not such a headline-shattering story today may mean much more in the medium-term future. Case in point: The installation yesterday of an electric-car charging column in Budapest, an item low-key enough that the official government announcement failed to specify exactly where in the capital city the unveiling took place.

The station is that 34th such currently operating in Budapest and is the first of 10 to be installed under auspices of the European Union’s Green eMotion project. Twenty of the extant Budapest stations are for public use free-of-charge through at least 2014.

Within Hungary, the 10 new stations are presented as aspect of the National Economy Ministry’s thus-far embryonic Ányos Jedlik Program, a plan which seeks to, in the words of Economic Regulation Minister Kristóf Szatmáry, “ready Hungary for the expected technical revolution [to come] in transportation, such as electro-mobility.”

Ambitious – and perhaps more financially motivational – plans vis-à-vis electronic vehicles were detailed by National Economy Minister Mihály Varga late week, as he announced the preparation of tax incentives to support Hungary’s burgeoning electric automobile production. Already exempt from certain registration taxes, the new plan would include a combination of incentives for privately-owned trade-ins, public sector use of electric cars, and promotional programs related to the industry.

Varga also stated that establishing some 68,000 public electric charging stations in Hungary, with the assistance of Nissan and E.On, will be complete by 2020.

In a PwC Hungary survey of mid-2012, analysts reckoned that a realistic estimate would figure 45,000 electric vehicles – representing just 1.2% of the projected total 3.785 million autos in the country – will be road-ready in Hungary by ’20. An “optimistic” projection put the figure at 189,200, still a mere 5% of expected total vehicle count.

According to industry statistics, some 380,000 electric cars were registered as “highway-ready” in the world in 2013, a huge increase of 200,000 in a single year.