Northern Macedonia, the firm closes old plugs

In the capital of northern Macedonia, Skopje, a small blue and light car that recalls communist past times, chained silently on the streets in the first major effort in the Balkan country to produce the electric car.

It is the idea of ​​a Skopje-based BB Classic Cars, a local company that restores vintage cars and now turns some of them into electric cars with the help of a government-based innovation fund aimed at boosting green technologies.

North-eastern Macedonia, which wants to join the European Union, where the strongest emission rules should come into force in 2020, is struggling with major pollution mainly from car and coal emissions. It plans to introduce subsidies for less polluting or zero emission car purchases.

BB Classic cars transformed the supermini Zastava 750, a licensed Fiat 600, spread across the already missing Yugoslavia, replacing its gasoline engine with an electrician.

Milorad Kitanovski, director of classic BB cars, said the converted Zastava 750s performance, originally produced in the Serbian town of Kragujevac from the early 1960s to the mid-1980s, is the same or better than the original one.

“The engine has much greater potential for a much higher performance and higher speed but we have limited it to 120 kilometers per hour,” Kitanovski said.

The converted machines are equipped with electric motors produced by Germany’s Kessler, which also has a factory in Northern Macedonia. Kitanovski did not say how much the company had invested in making the conversion.

The car has a distance of 150 kilometers, while charging time is about three hours with a home charger, and only 15 minutes with a fast charger.

“The cost of three hours of charge is less than 1 euro ($ 1.12), for 10 kilowatts that is battery capacity,” Kitanovski said.

The prize price is set around 20,000 euros ($ 22,568.00) and the company is mainly seeking international buyers, he said.

In comparison, Porsche Macedonia offers Volkswagen’s e-UP! and the e-Golf electric car for 25,000 euros and 37,000 euros, according to a February report of the country’s MIA news agency./

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