Governments Around The World Push Electric Car Development

Many western governments are determined to increase energy security and stabilize geopolitics by lowering dependence on oil imports, partially through EV's. The time as come!

Turning points. Technological turning points tend to be preceded by bubble economies which are burst by crisis. This bubble burst often creates the impetus for change. Hopefully this kind of a structural shift will emerge from the current economic crisis. Shifting consumer preferences and politics seem to be driving the car industry towards more environmentally friendly technologies. Several of the following countries are positioning themselves to lead tomorrows EV market.

United States. President Barack Obama has set a national target of deploying one million plug-in hybrids capable of 150 miles per gallon by 2015. There will be a $7,000 tax concession for purchasers of an ‘advanced' vehicle. Production of the Chevrolet Volt, to be released in 2010, played an important role in the government bailout for car manufacturers.

Japan. Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso has pledged that by 2020, 50 % of all cars sold will be non-gasoline. He plans to convert Japan Post's fleet of 21,000 vehicles to EVs: Discount rates will be given for parking, insurance and loans, with ‘model districts' competing for funding to install recharging infrastructure.

Israel. Israel plans to deploy 100,000 electric cars by 2011 supported by 500,000 recharging stations. Under the auspices of ‘Better Place', Nissan-Renault has been brought together in a public-private partnership with the Israeli government and private investors like Morgan Stanley. With some of the highest gasoline prices in the world and 90 per cent of motorists travelling less than 70 km a day between nearby cities, Israel is ideally situated to lead in EV deployment. Solar energy from the Negev Desert will supply the increased demand on the grid.

Portugal. Lisbon has agreed to a similar plan with the 'Better Place' consortium to deploy EVs by 2011. It plans that EVs will constitute 20 per cent of all public vehicles, and that there will be 320 recharging stations by 2010, increasing to 1,300 by 2011. EVs will benefit from tax exemptions, including income tax benefits of up to €800.

Denmark. Denmark has also signed a contract with the 'Better Place' consortium to deploy EVs by 2011. There will also be 20,000 recharging stations powered by wind.

United Kingdom. London has provided £200-million to automotive companies to produce low-emission cars. London's fleet of around 1,600 EVs is supported by a range of tax and duty exemptions, though these have been cut back to limit excessive growth of EV traffic in the centre.

France. Paris has given €400-million to support low emission vehicles. France is the home of the Renault-Nissan EV, which will soom go on sale around the world. The French government is working to introduce the plug-in hybrid in France by 2011 in partnership with the electricity company.

China. China has given 10 billion renminbi ($1.47-billion U.S.) to finance ‘new technology vehicles', including EVs. It is promoting greater efficiency, reducing sales tax on small cars, and giving subsidies to motivate owners to trade in large cars for smaller ones.

CONCLUSION: A significant deployment of plug-in hybrid vehicles and a smaller increase of 100 per cent EVs (mainly in large cities) is probable over the next six years. Energy utilities, in partnership with battery providers, will compete with gasoline retailers for the ‘refuelling' market share. Competition will be major to spur to innovation. "And the world will be a better place for you and for me."

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