Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

Electric Car Developments in France

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There’s some good news for a country that is being much more proactive about energy use and climate change than the U.S.  A nationwide electric car recharging network is going to be built in France.  An energy utility and a car maker are leading the way on the project, set to debut in just two short years.

The project will receive €400m of state backing over the next four years, which has been personally guaranteed by President Sarkozy.

To be worked out is who will be responsible for the charging station infrastructure, which is nothing to sneeze at.

The early front-runner is California-based Project Better Place, which has confirmed it is in talks about the project. The company is already building electric car recharging networks in Denmark and Israel, based on a model that sees cars quickly swap empty batteries for fully charged ones at roadside stations.

I’ve been a fan of Better Place ever since I heard about them, about a year ago now.  I checked their plans out, which seem relatively well-developed for a new company.  They have been very aggressive about putting themselves at the fore of the electric car wave that is slowly (for now) building momentum.  The article actually skips over a number of cities that are also in contact with Better Place – including a couple in the U.S. that are planning on building out electric car charging stations.  It’s just unfortunate that it’s only a small handful of mayors and governors in America that recognize what the dominant form of transportation will soon be.  It makes sense that a national approach, such as Israel’s, Denmark’s and now France’s, should be pursued.

Interestingly, after fighting higher mileage standards quite vociferously for years in the U.S., Chrysler is among the competitors trying to get a foothold in the France electric car market.  But they can’t build their U.S. fleet to meet higher efficiency standards, they told Congress.  Nobody would buy the cars.  Uh-huh.  Their European fleet meets Europe’s standards, which are much more aggressive than the U.S.’.  After stupidly fighting a U.S. mandate, I wasn’t sorry to see their survival in question last year into this year.  They’ve done what they could to destroy the U.S. middle class.  They found out how untenable that approach was.  Hey, Chrysler, how about doing some fighting for this technology state-side?

Check out Better Place‘s ongoing marketing approach.

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