“Collaboration with a technical partner, the so-called integrator, becomes the axis of the ecosystem” – Piotr Zaremba, President of ElectroMobility Poland, praised the signing of the contract with EDAG Engineering in 2019. “He is an experienced entity that knows how cars are made. built and has a wide range of competencies in introducing new models into mass production, supporting the whole technological process”.
Correct. The EDAG company cooperates with many world-class automakers, has contacts that make it possible to obtain parts, possibly sign favorable contracts for the supply of necessary parts, and is able to create a project in terms of a widely understood logistics.
The know-how alone is not enough: the project needs financing and real cooperation from the customer – in this case ElectroMobility Poland (EMP).
Izera is planned and a forest is growing on the site of the future factory
However, it seems there isn’t much to coordinate as the further into the woods, the more slip the “Izera” project catches. It is also becoming increasingly apparent how ill-prepared and well-thought-out the next steps are. In any case, questions about the “forest” clearly irritate the representatives of the EMP. They associate this word with the land for the factory in Jaworzno, which had long been promised to the company that would produce the Polish car by the local government of Jaworzno, but it is still owned by the State Forests. When we asked about the issue of acquiring land for the plant a few weeks ago, we got an answer that makes it clear that the EMP has limited influence over the course of this operation:
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Izera – there is one model instead of a hundred thousand cars
What is especially worrying in the context of the end of the collaboration with EDAG Engineering is also the issue of the car platform. You can guess that the technical coordinator was closely involved in acquiring this important part. Does the process of acquiring the platform now have to start all over again?
It is worth explaining at this point that the platform of an electric car is the basis of its construction. Different car models can be created on one platform, which determine the performance, ride quality, battery arrangement, etc. of the car. Designing a new platform is a lengthy process that involves not millions but billions of euros and requires extensive experience and design facilities. It is an undertaking of this caliber that manufacturers who already have a modern car platform are ready to make the design available to even direct competition. Of course for money. It’s a way to share costs. And it’s the platform (or lack thereof) that, aside from the factory itself, is Izera’s fundamental problem. The choice of platform had already been announced by EMP, but apparently the media attention was only about EMP choosing the platform it would like to have, which is not the same as signing a specific contract.
Status as of today: There is a 1:1 scale model that technically has nothing to do with a production-ready car. This is just a mock-up that can be shown at picnics and in photos, able to move at low speed as it is equipped with a makeshift drive.
Izera: cooperation with Durr Systems and Prochem
EMP is currently working with the German company Durr Systems, which will design production lines and factory equipment. However, this is not exactly the role EDAG Engineering had earlier in the project. A replacement investor was also selected: the company Prochem, which has to apply for a building permit, put out tenders, select subcontractors and then supervise the process of building the plant. But even the greatest specialists are not helped by the uncertainty of the situation, even if it is not certain where the factory should be located.
Reality doesn’t help Jizera
Meanwhile, the situation in the international car market is such that – as EMP representatives put it nicely – “some business assumptions in the context of the platform provider require additional analysis”. There is a shortage of parts, components, materials for production on the market, the prices of everything are rising. There is little chance that manufacturers that are missing parts for car production will want to share them with a new player on the market. The business assumptions of years ago (including the estimated cost of the 5 billion PLN project) are certainly no longer valid.
In the EMP – officially – optimistic moods prevail. On the company’s website you can read about involving more people in the team, there are articles about the advantages of electric driving, as well as very interesting analyzes about the future of Silesia, which will have to do without coal in the coming years, but has an opportunity to maintain its economic power thanks to enterprises such as the Izera factory in Jaworzno. In the context of the current situation on the coal market in Poland, it all sounds very interesting.
Izera. Will it end up with a 1:1 scale model?
We asked the EMP to answer a few questions, incl. about the impact – according to the company – of the termination of the collaboration with EDAG Polska on the continuation of the “Izera” project. We also asked representatives of EDAG Polska to comment on the situation. For now, questions remain unanswered.