New public-private agency to incubate defense technologies in Ukraine

Last month saw the launch of the Innovations Development Platform (IDP),  Ukraine’s first agency dedicated to the incubation and development of innovative defense projects.

Inspired by Israel’s Chief Scientist’s Office, this public-private partnership initiative aims to bring together developers, experts and investors “to develop innovations for the Ukrainian army and foreign partners in transparent commercial conditions.”

Developers with the most promising ideas will be selected from local higher education institutions, R&D organizations, design bureaus and enterprises. They will benefit from the agency’s expertise and equipment.

Priority will be given to projects that can be implemented by the military in less than two years.

Investors will be involved in each of the selected projects to ensure serial production.

In the future, an industrial park to manufacture the devices developed by the platform residents will be created in partnership with Technology Companies’ Development Centre.

The IDP was launched by Spetstechnoexport, a state enterprise for arms import-export, in partnership with industry association Ukrainian Defense Industry and Kyiv-Mohyla Business School.

Ukraine is a sizeable player on the global arms market, with a share of roughly 3% between 2010 and 2014. However, the country’s sales decreased significantly after 2014.

As reported last year by the Kyiv Post, industry analysts point out the lack of facilities to manufacture products that are in demand in the market. The reputation of some Ukrainian suppliers on the international arms market also leaves to be desired.


Ukraine may be on the doorstep of an electro-cars revolution

Amid post-revolution transformations, ongoing fight against corruption and the de facto war in Donbas, there is still a place for progress in Ukraine. At some questions, the country is even more successful than its Western neighbors. In the last few years, Ukraine has become a powerful IT hub. Recently the Forbes told about the country’s digital revolution which is silently taking hold in the form of almost unparalleled adoption of digital crypto-currencies. And now the development of electro-cars market can be added to Ukraine’s accomplishments.

InsideEVs, an outlet dedicated to electric vehicles around the world, gave Ukraine 5th place in the list of the Top EV countries. In it, Ukraine even went ahead of the US and Japan.

The researcher Assaf Oron publishes his rating for the third year in a row. The criteria for it are as follows:

  • 50% of it is sales (mostly market share, but volume and year-over-year change also mattered);
  • 30% production;
  • 15% for buses and 5% for policy/infrastructure.

Ukraine made it to the top due to local groups who made up for economic challenges by importing thousands of used EVs, which is surprising to the author:

“What would you do living in a country with $4,000 per capita GDP, which means that even at ~$150/kWh, new EVs are still priced out of your league? And no domestic auto industry either? Well, some Ukrainians got together, established a conveyor belt of used EVs (half of them Leafs) coming in from the West, lobbied for government support, and in 2016 things really flourished with > 2.5k sales, nearly all > 2-year-old used, jumping five-fold over 2015 and landing the global number four spot for market share.”

The author is also confident that Ukrainians’ motivation for developing in this direction is clear:

With its domineering enemy Russia being an oil power, the desire to punch Big Oil in the face (which I share, heartily) takes on a personal and immediate form in Ukraine.”

The development of Ukraine during the last year is huge.

“In 2015, only enthusiasts drove electric cars in Ukraine,” says Oleksandr Kravtsov, an owner of an electric car. In 2014 he and like-minded people brought one of the first EV’s to Ukraine. A year later, they drove from Kyiv to Monte Carlo in an international EV marathon. Since then, a mere hobby has grown into a business for Oleksandr. Now the enthusiasts own a salon and EV-specialized service stations.According to Oleksandr, if the government supports the field, the results can be even more impressive. He expects that the next step will be the passing the bill On the Promotion of Development of the Market of Electricity Market in Ukraine.

Okeksandr Kravtsov was among the enthusiasts who brought the first electro-car to Ukraine. photo:

According to Oleksandr, if the government supports the field, the results can be even more impressive. He expects that the next step will be the passing the bill On the Promotion of Development of the Market of Electricity Market in Ukraine.

The bill foresees the following steps:

  1. Introducing a zero toll on the most expensive electric components, which will lead to cheaper production.
  2. Introducing a classification for electro-buses, electro-trucks, electric bikes, and bicycles. Simultaneously a zero toll on them will be introduced. This will help to electrify the existing transport in the process of its renewal.
  3. Setting the minimum term of depreciation for electric cars at the level of 2 years. In effect, businesses will be able to quickly reinvest funds into the purchase of electric cars.
  4. Introducing tax relief for the conversion of ordinary cars into electric ones. In result, refurbishment 0f ordinary cars into electric ones will be 20% cheaper.
  5. Introducing tax relief for purchasing electric vehicles, making the process 20% cheaper than at present.
  6. Setting zero excise duty on electric vehicles, electric trucks, electric bikes, and bicycles

Also for making electric transport, its production, and infrastructure, cheaper exemptions should be introduced for importing and supplying imported electric transport, components and elements of infrastructure for five years. The same should be done for services related to electric transport and rent which will improve the business climate in the field.

The Minister of Infrastructure Volodymyr Omelyan is confident that if the provisions of the bill are implemented, prices for the electro-cars in Ukraine will go down by 40%.

Kravtsov says that if the government follows the steps described in the bill, it would be enough for moving the field forward. So far, business have been the leaders of progress in the field:

“The infrastructure for electro-cars in Ukraine outstrips even its close neighbors in the EU. This is just the beginning, which was made due to the efforts of businesses (restaurants, hotels, malls, gas stations) and the first few operators of charging stations. During the last two years the number of charging stations is growing exponentially – doubling every year,” says Kravtsov.

So far Ukraine has 600 charging stations, about 25% of which are in Kyiv.

Kravtsov predicts that in a few years Ukrainians will be able to choose electro-cars as the main car of the family.

According to experts, this year is important for the industry. General Motors will produce an electro-car for the middle class ($35K) with a mileage of 400+/km. Tesla Model 3 will be produced this summer as well. Whether Ukrainians will be able to buy them or not depends on the country’s economy. So far they prefer used electro-cars from the EU and the US.

Last year, 2593 electro-cars were registered in Ukraine. In the first quarter of 2017, an additional 548 electro-cars and 219 hybrid cars have been registered.

Olena Makarenko

About the author
Olena Makarenko is a journalist at Euromaidan Press. In 2014, Olena started to work as a volunteer with public initiatives which focus on building civil society and promoting dialog between people from different regions of Ukraine.