France earmarks $549 million for green cars
Oct 9, 2008 - The Associated
French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Thursday pledged
400 million euros ($549 million) in state support
for the development of electric and hybrid cars.
He said during a visit to the Paris Auto Show that
the money will be destined "exclusively for the research
and development of nonpolluting vehicles" over fours
years - and will come from funds already earmarked
for environmental projects.
Sarkozy also said he will call upon other European
countries to encourage auto makers to take loans from
the European Investment Bank to develop lower emission
vehicles. His comments came as French carmakers Renault
SA and PSA Peugeot Citroen said they made separate
agreements with energy company Electrite de France
to develop and market electric and hybrid vehicles.
Renault's agreement is to jointly develop the infrastructure
needed to recharge electric vehicles, allowing a vehicle
launch in 2011. It is open to other "interested parties"
and will start in France, the two companies said in
a joint statement Thursday. The French government
owns 85 percent of EdF and 15 percent of Renault.
Peugeot Citroen's partnership is aimed at supporting
the development and future marketing of electric vehicles
and plug-in hybrids, the car maker said in a joint
statement with EdF.
Although the demand for green cars is growing, uncertainties
linger over the batteries needed to power them. Technological
advances are needed to meet cost and weight requirements,
and the infrastructure to recharge them is lacking.
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Renault and its Japanese sister
carmaker Nissan, says the investments required to
commercialize electric cars are "colossal."
State-controlled EdF, the owner of the world's biggest
fleet of electric vehicles, is developing a "smart"
charging terminal, currently being tested on Toyota
Motor Corp.'s Prius cars in Britain. The technology
is designed to recognize the car, allowing drivers
to be invoiced directly no matter where they charge
The Renault Nissan Alliance says it has partnership
agreements in France, Israel, Denmark, Portugal, the
U.S. state of Tennessee and the Kanagawa Prefecture
in Japan, allowing it to commercialize electric cars
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