After Spain said few days ago that the development of the battery-charging infrastructure will start with phone booths, now it’s France turn to come with a similar investment. The French government announced that it plans to spend €1.5 billion (about $2.2 billion) in the development of an infrastructure that will encourage the development of clean vehicle technology and battery manufacturing.
All parking lots will be obliged to have a charging station by 2015 and as well all new apartment blocks will need to have it implemented starting with 2012. It is estimated that by 2015, on France streets, there will be around 50,000 electric vehicles. With the battery-charging infrastructure in place, Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo expects to have at least double electrical vehicles running in the country by that date.
The plan can only work with a government investment in the battery manufacturing factory at a Renault SA facility at Flins, at a cost of €625 million from which €125 million will come from the state’s strategic investment fund. The plant annual production will be around 100,000 batteries from which most will go to PSA Peugeot-Citroen concern. Philippe Varin chief executive of PSA announced that four small electric vehicles will be ready for sale by next year. Two city cars will be available from which one will be bought from the Japanese partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp(i-MiEV) and the other will probably be the Citroen C1 electric. The other two vehicles will be small utility vehicles (probably Citroen C3 Picasso electric model and Cleanova, similar to Renault Kangoo).
Renault is also very confident to have at least four electric vehicles on the market by the end of 2011 – beginning of 2012. Operating officer Patrick Pelata said that the Renault-Nissan concern plans to invest €4 billion in developing electric vehicle technology.
Even though most of us are not really confident that electric vehicles will have a chance on the market because of infrastructural needs we see that the European markets start their development with clear targets to finish. Lets just hope others will follow soon.