The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
30 November, 2018
The future is bright for electric cars in Georgia
The numerous hybrid cars in the streets of Tbilisi cannot be overlooked. Entrepreneur Sulkhan Gvalia calls them “pagers”, referring to the predecessor of mobile phones. According to him, hybrid cars are just the first step towards the electric car era in Georgia. Because of this confidence, he started a new business in 2016.

“E-space” promotes electric driven vehicles and provides the necessary infrastructure. Gvalia stands in the newly opened and futuristic-looking showroom of the company at the Rose Revolution Square in
downtown Tbilisi. There, in between electric scooters and various car models, he explains where his optimism comes from.

Small distances and clean energy in favor of e-cars

“Georgia is a small country, so the average distance people travel per day is around 40 to 50 kilometers”, says Gvalia. A distance that is easily doable even with an older electric car. Furthermore, most of Georgians own-generated electricity is derived from hydro power plants – a clean energy source in terms of emissions. And more dams for the production of hydropower are being planned.
Hybrid cars are a familiar sight in Tbilisi

Indeed, these are solid prerequisites for an e-car revolution, from which the inhabitants of the extremely traffic and smog exposed city of Tbilisi would surely benefit a lot.

Read more: Tbilisi among dangerous cities in Europe where air pollution is high

However, the actual numbers don’t really support Gvalia’s thesis. So far, only 1500 out of a total of over one million cars in Georgia are electric. The present reluctance in the acquisition of e-cars can be explained by the poverty of the country, says Gvalia. Well above 90 percent of sold cars are used vehicles that cost between 5’000 and 10’000 U.S. Dollars.
Last year’s protest against air pollution in Tbilisi

“Until now, the market for used cars simply lacks enough electric cars in this price segment”, so Gvalia. That explains also why Nissan LEAF is the most abundant e-car in Georgia. The production of this affordable model for the retail market started as early as 2012.

The fuel affordability is extremely low in Georgia

Apart from this, there are compelling reasons for Georgians to buy electric cars. First of all, petrol is relatively expensive in Georgia. While in the UK, people spend an average of 5.5 percent of their daily income for one gallon (about 3.7 liters) of petrol, this number is a lot higher in Georgia. Taking the last year’s average income per capita, raising it up to 330 GEL as incomes increased over the last years, an average Georgian has a daily income of 11 GEL. Consequently, in Georgia as much as 87 percent of an average daily income is spent for one gallon of fuel. “Driving an electric car costs six time less than a car with a fuel consumption of ten liters”, says Gvalia.

Read more: Doing business in Georgia has become easier than in America

Also, the maintenance costs of an electric car are lower. There is no oil nor fuel filter change. Furthermore, the basic mechanic of e-cars consist of less than a dozen moving parts – in a combustion engine there are several hundred moving parts. “The lower maintenance costs are a very strong argument, especially for Georgians who mostly own used cars without any warranty”, - says Gvalia.
Traffic and congestion are loyal companions in the Georgian capital

Battery change could prevent Georgians from buying electric cars

That said, the lacking warranty could backfire on electric car sales. Just like the battery of a smart phone, the battery of an electric gradually loses its ability to hold a charge. Eventually, it needs to be replaced. As the warranty will most likely be expired by that time, Georgian e-car owners must be prepared to pay for the exchange themselves at some point.

How much this will cost is difficult to estimate at this point as there are literally no experience values. Last year, a new battery for Nissan LEAF cost 4,000 U.S. Dollars. However, the production costs of batteries for electric cars have continuously been decreasing in the last years. If this trend continues, it might further motivate Georgians to switch to e-cars in the future.
E-space wants to be ready for the e-car revolution in Georgia, photo courtesy: E-space

Lower battery costs is one thing. Another thing is that good infrastructure for electric cars that still needs further development in Georgia. So far, Gvalia’s company E-space has set up 55 public chargers. “You can already call this a network, but we need more chargers at peoples working place, for example and fast chargers along the highways”, - says Gvalia. Until now, charging was free. This will most probably change next year.

Read more: The number of electric cars and chargers rise in Georgia

Nevertheless, Gvalia isn’t afraid that this could discourage people. “In fact, most electric car owners charge their cars at home, where they have to pay for it anyway”. This is why E-space collaborates with real estate developers in order to install chargers at parking lots that belong to private apartment buildings.

Entrepreneur and former banker Gvalia is the only investor of E-space. The money he put into the company was a long term investment that will pay off in three to five years, he’s convinced. “By then, there will be enough second hand e-cars on the used market and we’ll be ready”, - says Sulkhan Gvalia and draws a steep curve with his hand in the air.

Author: Martina Polek

Other Stories
Georgia Acquires Up to 400,000 COVID-19 Tests and 50 Ventilators With World Bank Support
With the World Bank's $80 million Emergency COVID-19 Response project financial support and mediation, the government of Georgia was able to procure 147 000 Rapid COVID-19 Antibody and Antigen Test Kits and 250 000 PCR Test, that will triple Georgia's testing capacity to 3000 samples per day by mid-July, - reports World Bank.
Georgian business associations establish Georgian Tourism Industry Alliance
Business associations representing various sector of the hospitality industry in Georgia agreed to establish Georgian Tourism Industry Alliance (GTIA).
IMF approves $200 million for Georgia
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund has approved US$200 million financing to Georgia to address the effects of the COVID19 pandemic.
Georgia will be one of the first to open tourist corridors, Economy minister vows
Georgia’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Natia Turnava pledged that Georgia would be one of the first countries to open safe tourist corridors with other countries.
Georgia’s GDP may contract 4%, the worst in the region amid pandemic
International Monetary Fund forecasts a 4% contraction of Georgia’s economy, which very much depends on tourism and money transfers.
Georgian retailers fight for survival as coronavirus pandemic continues
Pandemic has affected everyone worldwide, but one of the most vulnerable are retailers, those who depend on consumers and their spending.
Georgia remains the fifth in terms of budget transparency
According to the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS), conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Georgia got 81 points out of 100 in state budget transparency, the Transparency International Georgia said on Wednesday.
Georgia to receive €1.16 million for agriculture development
Within the GRETA project, the EU, Sweden and Austria launched the Local Development Initiative (LDI), to create great economic opportunities in the organic agriculture sector for farmers, farmer groups, cooperatives, processing units as well as other actors along various organic value chains.
Products rotten amid nationwide lockdown in Georgia
Food chain security is becoming more and more important as lockdown stays in place and farmers cannot transport their products from one place to another.
Georgian government to spend GEL 3.5 billion within crisis management plan
Georgian government has introduced a crisis management plan that consists of different stages. GEL 3.5 billion will be spent to cushion economy but this amount does not cover the post-crisis recovery period.
Georgia to receive €183 million from EU to fight Coronavirus
Due to the economic crisis caused by the pandemic of the coronavirus disease COVID-19, the EU has proposed a new package of macro-financial assistance.
Air traffic to be halted until May 22, GCAA says
Air traffic in Georgia will stay halted until May 22, 2020, Georgian Civil Aviation Agency says in a statement.
Georgian PM discusses support packages from ADB, EBRD
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia held a video conference with the presidents of the EBRD and ADB regarding the possible assistance and financial resources to be allocated to Georgia due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.
EBRD to provide €1 billion to Georgia, other countries
The EBRD and Georgia are stepping up cooperation as the country's economy faces the challenge of the coronavirus outbreak – says an official statement published on
Government closes ski resorts in Georgia over COVID-19
The season at the ski resorts of Georgia closes ahead of schedule, the Prime Minister’s spokesman, Irakli Chikovani, said at a briefing.
Georgia will export armored vehicle Didgori Warrior
A new Georgian armored vehicle Didgori, equipped with a 120mm mobile mortar module, will be exported under the agreement signed between the Military Scientific-Technical Center Delta and one of the countries of the Middle East, the Ministry of Defence said.
Korter: Reliable housing property data in Georgia
It's not a simple job to find fresh homes. But when you use the estate choice service Korter, everything becomes distinct.
Rent a car in Tbilisi –
Are you thinking of booking the best vehicles for your next trip at a very reasonable price? If yes, then this is one of the best decisions you can ever make for yourself.
Pleasant Sunday for the whole family – Renewed Sunday’s brunch at The Biltmore Tbilisi Hotel
Summer, the season of endless fun and vacations, has ended and Tbilisi has become a usually crowded city.
GEL devalues, officials show optimism though
Devaluation of the national currency has sent shockwaves among citizens in Georgia. Officials think that the trend will return to its normal frame, though.
ProCredit Bank’s 20 years of challenges and successes in Georgia and what it means to be a responsible bank
“The bank’s 20-year long presence in Georgia was marked by many challenges and success stories.
Comments on alarming GEL devaluation
The National Bank of Georgia set a new exchange rate, according to which, dollar price became GEL 2.9507 on Tuesday.
Euronews and Silknet sign an MOU to launch “Euronews Georgia”
Euronews and Silknet, Georgia’s leading telecommunications company, are announcing the signing of an MOU in view of launching Euronews Georgia, a news channel and digital platform aimed at a Georgian-speaking audience.
Green Diamond starts to hand over flats to owners as second stage of construction finishes
Second stage of construction of Green Diamond living apartments by MAQRO Construction has finished and process of hand over of flats to owners has started.
Georgian wine tasting in the US came off excellently
Georgian wine tasting in the main cities of the US, New York, Chicago, and Boston went off excellently.
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange
August 2020
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30