Greek entrepreneur Thanasis Lazanas is planning to invest up to 100 million euros in the Greek economy, with his flagship project being the construction of an electric vehicles plant.
Lazanas restructured many enterprises before acquiring Arclif, a holdings company through which he is planning to create the first electric car factory in Greece. Arclif was better known for its holdings in Facebook and Spotify before they were listed, while in 2011-14 Arclif firms invested 33 million Swiss francs in startups and technology, mainly in the service sector, in German-speaking countries.
Lazanas is motivated by the idea that “all European enterprises have abandoned the business-to-consumer (B2C) market to the Americans. Europe must retrieve this market, or else we are lost,” he told Kathimerini. His talks with candidate partners in Greece are at an advanced stage, but he is still concerned over how the state will secure the necessary infrastructure for the organization of production.
Lazanas’s family is from Patra, but he was born and raised in Germany. He worked at Ford, but quit two weeks before the collapse of Lehman Brothers.
In 2014 he obtained authorization from General Motors to manufacture a mini electric version of the Hummer. Originally the idea was for a small number of cars, which started their trial circulation in mainly Asian cities. Later on the cars, which are very light, look a bit like golf carts and have a range of some 80 kilometers, started to catch on in Europe too.
Nowadays he produces the MEV Hummer HX in China. They cost 19,000 euros each and GM gets a share of the price. In 2014 he also had talks with the Turkish government. “I was told in Germany that moving to Turkey entailed certain risks. Therefore I started seriously considering Greece,” he said.
The Chinese factory has undertaken the production of MEV vehicles, one of the many subsidiaries of the Arclif Group. “We only produce after receiving an order. We will do the same in Greece, but I believe we can reach up to 2,000 cars per year and then 10,000,” he added.
Knowing the risk of investing in Greece, Lazanas will spread his 100 million euros to other markets beyond that of electric cars, such as local startups, property, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and information technology.