Slovenian Electric Vehicles

By Paul Gipe

While touring Central Europe with a Rick Steve’s group I didn’t see a single wind turbine (my specialty), but I did come across some electric vehicles–my current passion–and one DC fast charger.

We were stopped at a fueling station on the main expressway into Slovenia, a small Slavic nation of 2 million people in the former Yugoslavia, when I spied a DC fast charger. You don’t see those every day, not even in California, the EV capital of North America.

There was no one charging at the time, though there was space for two cars. The kiosk was bright and colorful and labeled in English, Italian (Slovenia borders Italy), German (Slovenia borders Austria), and, of course, Slovenian.

The 50 kW Slovenian dispenser was capable of charging cars with three different standards: CHAdeMO, the Japanese DC standard; CCS, the German & American DC standard; and the European equivalent of our J1772 standard for AC charging. (Imagine such a kiosk in the US with three charge cables on the same dispenser. It could have CHAdeMO, CCS, and a Tesla cable!)

The kiosk also included a simple map of Slovenia and where 26 DCFC stations could be found along the “Central European Green Corridors.” All apparently began operating in 2015, a remarkable accomplishment that California would be hard pressed to match.

Car Sharing in Ljubljana

When we reached Slovenia’s capital Llubljana, we practically stumbled on EVs at every turn. Slovenia was the “green” capital of Europe a few years ago and they’re proud of that accomplishment. One reason they won was the city’s move to EVs.

We spied at least two car-sharing services just on the walk from the train station to the city center:, and share’ngo.

While avant2go offered up-scale BMW I3s, Italian company share’ngo was providing their ubiquitous yellow minis. You can find fleets of them at the train station and on the streets surrounding Ljubljana’s central square.

City fathers–as part of greening Ljubljana–have closed off the inner city to through traffic and made the area a pedestrian-only zone. Because people actually live in the city center, the city needed to find a way to provide transportation to those who needed it. Their solution was a string of electric trolleys that are on call to residents in the pedestrian zone.

The trolleys, zero emission Zelini Kavalirs, provide transportation to the elderly or handicapped from the pedestrian zone to transit centers and the open-air market. The Kavalirs, or gentle helpers, are also available to visitors to the city. Each can carry five passengers and are slow enough that the city says you can hail one as it passes by. They run from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. Some of the vehicles are glazed and heated for winter use.

On our next visit to Slovenia we plan to spend more time in the Alpine country and tool around in an EV.