Max Reznichenko from Ukraine is the Business Development Partner and the Head of Sales division at Extrawest, a software development company. The company, founded in 2006, has successfully developed and implemented projects for customers worldwide in a wide range of industries. These include healthcare, insurance, public utilities, financial services, banking, digital entertainment and mining.
Following a degree in electrical engineering, Reznichenko ended up working in the world of banking. In 2006, while working in this sphere, he developed an interest in electric vehicles (EVs) when Tesla presented its first Roadster.
After a decade in the banking industry, Reznichenko craved innovation, so made the decision to change his life and switched to working in the tech industry. It was at this point he joined Extrawest and took the first step in his journey into the emobility space.
Along with his colleagues at Extrawest, he has been on a mission to help make the transition to electric vehicles across the world easier, especially in Ukraine. Together, they have worked on different software development projects for electric cars to support this.
Reznichenko is an EV fan and owns both a petrol vehicle and a Nissan LEAF electric car. Not only has he been saving the planet using the LEAF but one day his decision to drive it saved his life. We caught up with the positive and dynamic Reznichenko to find out more.
EDs: How did your journey into emobility develop?
For more than 10 years I worked in banking. It was a successful chapter in my life but one day I decided to completely change the sphere I worked in and try something new. The banking industry was interesting but it desperately lacked innovations I didn’t see an opportunity for me to grow there, both personally and professionally. So I switched to the tech industry, to be closer to innovation.
For me, being innovative means that you contribute ideas and solutions to workplace challenges. That’s how I joined Extrawest and it was the first step of my journey to emobility.
At first, my goal was just to build a successful career in the world of IT but then I realised it was not enough. Both the team and I wanted to contribute to something bigger and more purposeful. And what can be more purposeful in the 2020s than contributing to cleantech solutions?
EDs: What made you decide to work in the emobility sector?
Firstly, I’ve been interested in electric vehicles since Tesla presented its first Roadster in 2006. Secondly, my education has also influenced me because my first degree was in the field of electrical engineering.
Since that time, I have been convinced of the upcoming EV revolution and have been thinking about the huge gap in solutions for EV charging services, especially in my country of Ukraine.
Thirdly, it’s a fast-moving sector and you’re able to make things happen quickly. This is where my strive for innovation played a role. It has benefits at many levels from the personal to the global.
At a personal level, I simply love my job contributing to a greener planet and clean air for our kids. At the global level, the electrification of transport helps curb climate change by reducing the greenhouse effect.
EDs: Do you drive an electric car, and if so, which one?
In my family there are two cars; one with a gasoline engine and the other is fully electric. It’s a Nissan LEAF. As an active car driver, I can say that both of them have pros and cons but I love my electric car. It became a friend in need.
The war in Ukraine, unfortunately, had an impact on motorists. High fuel prices and long gas lines became triggers for motorists. Faced with huge lines at gas stations, one day I decided to park the gas car and go into town for groceries in my electric car. This decision saved my life.
That day three people were killed when an artillery shell fell near the gas station I was going to. It’s scary to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t changed my mind at the last moment. After what happened, I am even more determined to devote myself to popularising and promoting electric cars.
EDs: What electric car would you most like and why?
Today, there are lots of electric cars, from affordable city runabouts to high-end luxury cars. Much of the mainstream acceptance and excitement for electric cars can be attributed to Tesla Motors. For me, the Tesla Model X is winning the global electric vehicle race.
Tesla is a sign of a breakthrough in the automotive market. Thanks to Tesla’s popularisation, electric cars have ceased to be considered boring.
EDs: Tell us about your work at Extrawest and what motivates you?
Some people are motivated by self-improvement — that motivation to develop and grow personally. I’m among such people but besides that, I am highly motivated by my team and our common mission.
Together with Extrawest’s team, we are fully inspired by the mission to drive an easier switch to electric vehicles across the world, particularly in Ukraine. We strongly believe that the future belongs to emobility. It ensures that eco-friendly, quiet and efficient vehicles will be on our roads, so at the moment, we focus on different software development projects for EVs.
Our results and feedback from clients is the main reason that drives me to do a good job. Knowing the fact that our work and perseverance will help someone’s cleantech business makes work a second home.
EDs: Tell us about the Ukrainian EV charging infrastructure as it is now?
Before the war, the EV charging industry was actively developing in Ukraine, although slower than in some western European countries. At the end of 2021, there were 30,000 EVs on Ukrainian roads. For comparison, in neighbouring Poland, there are only 8,000 fewer cars.
Talking about charging stations, it is logical that after the war began the number of active stations decreased a bit. In April 2022 it reached the mark below 700. Whereas the number of offline stations grew up to more than 100. The prevailing majority of those stations were controlled by two major players; Autoenterprise and EcoFactor.
Nowadays, the Ukrainian electricity market is highly monopolised. That fact is complicated for new businesses that want to enter the field. Ukraine also has issues with bureaucracy.
To install a new station multiple permissions are required. Moreover, it can turn out that the power in a certain facility is not sufficient for the station, so there are basically no guarantees for new businesses.
Despite all the difficulties, through which the Ukrainian EV business now passes, I believe that after the war our country may become ‘Eastern European Norway’ and the charging infrastructure sector development is required to reach this goal.
EDs: What is your vision for the future of a new Ukrainian EV charging infrastructure?
As I previously mentioned, Ukraine’s electric car market has shown significant growth in recent years. So our ‘Eastern European Norway’ is able to raise a diversified charging station market.
The options for installing EV charging points, for example, at offices and rural retail complexes are varied. Just imagine, you arrive at your favourite restaurant where a charger is waiting for you and you do not need to wonder where to recharge. This sounds good.
I also heard about Europe’s most powerful electric vehicle charging station at Oxford. It can charge 42 vehicles at once. With the growth dynamics of EVs, it would be a great solution for Ukrainian drivers, especially given our country’s potential for developing renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and other sources.