As France’s car-makers push their plans to increase sales and give motorists more electric and hybrid-powered vehicle choices, the French Government has added its support by announcing it intends to spend €1.5 billion (about US$2.2 billion) on creating a battery-charging network for electric vehicles across the country. Part of its spend will also go towards further encouragement of clean vehicle technology and battery manufacturing.
The government says it will also make the installation of charging stations obligatory in new apartment blocks with parking lots, starting in 2012, and office parking lots by 2015. Environment Minister Jean-Louis Borloo told a press conference that a group of public and private fleet operators has already identified a need to purchase 50,000 electric vehicles through to 2015, and the government hopes this figure could be raised to 100,000 by pooling purchasing power.
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The government plans to contribute €125 million (US$183 million approx.) towards the cost of a €625 million (US$914 approx.) battery manufacturing factory at a Renault SA facility at Flins, west of Paris. The money will come from the French state's strategic investment fund.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 100,000 batteries and will supply other French electric vehicle manufacturers, including PSA Peugeot-Citroen.
Peugeot-Citroen will have four small electric vehicles ready for sale in 2010, including two small city cars, one of which will be based on a vehicle that Peugeot-Citroen will be buying from its Japanese partner Mitsubishi, said chief executive Philippe Varin. He added that there would also be small utility vehicles for both brands.
Renault's chief operating officer Patrick Pelata said Renault would have four mass-market electric vehicles on sale in 2011 and 2012, reaffirming that Renault and its alliance partner Nissan plan to invest a total of €4 billion (US$5.8 billion) in developing electric vehicle technology.
The French government said it would seek financing of €900 million for its €1.5 billion plan from a state loan to be launched next year.