As the United States government continues to drag its heels on passing climate change legislation, it’s encouraging to see folks in Europe making moves in the right direction. Last week, the French government announced it would dedicate $2.2 billion to creating a network of battery-charging stations for electric vehicles. The plan came as part of a much larger initiative that aims to move France towards a cleaner transportation system involving electric vehicles.
In addition to using tax money to create a network of battery-charging stations where drivers can juice their EVs, the plan also requires all parking lots to contain battery charging stations by 2015. All new apartment buildings with lots must also include charging stations by 2012.
The initiative also aims to boost EV production. France will provide significant funding for the creation of a new battery manufacturing plant at a Renault facility west of Paris. The plant can produce about 100,000 batteries each year, which it will use for its own line of EVs and to supply other car companies like PSA Peugeot-Citroen, which plan to produce several new electric vehicles between 2010-2012.
To really get EVs to take off, two things need to happen: Infrastructure and EV production must be boosted and drivers need to embrace EVs. France is certainly doing its part to figure out the first piece of the EV puzzle — only time will tell if drivers will do their part, too.