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Published on May 5th, 2010 | by Christopher DeMorro

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French Government Will Order 50,000 Electric Vehicles for Its Fleets

The objective of a government is to lead, though the exact definition of “leading” has always been up for subjective interpretation. Whether that means leading in an Orwellian sense, by controlling every aspect of your life, or by simply providing the bare necessities to stave off anarchy, government is essential on at least some level. Personally, I think if the government expects the citizenry to act responsibly, they should lead by example.

So I give big props to the French government, something I rarely do. The French government has announced that it will purchase an astounding 50,000 electric vehicles for government fleet use over the next few years. Talk about putting your money where your mouth is.

Actually, they haven’t really put any money on the table yet for these cars, so I’m jumping the gun a bit. And it isn’t like France is the first government to announce such support for electric vehicles. Plenty of governments are going out of their way to make buying an electric car easier on the wallet. Here in the U.S. we have a $7,500 tax credit for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, as well as state incentives. Ireland is providing a tax credit of its own, placing lots of charging points across the country, and placing a sizable order of electric vehicles itself. But France seems to want to take the lead on electric vehicles, and is working with 20 corporations to fill out its order form.

I expect most of the electric vehicles will come from the Renault-Nissan alliance. After all, Renault is a French company, and Renault-Nissan already announced deals with other countries like Ireland. Still, 50,000 electric vehicles would replace a large chunk of the French government’s fleet, and while the intial cost might be staggering, I think France will find more than enough money saved on maintenance and fuel. They are also offering a $6,600 tax credit for electric vehicle buyers through 2012. I just hope France plans on installing enough charging points to handle the extra burden of electric cars.

Let’s just hope France follows through on this commitment. It might convince more than a few fence sitters that electric is the way to go.

Source: ABCarbon | Image: Renault




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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • ChuckL

    Sorry Christopher, but you are wrong, and we have to change the word “objective” to “proper duty”.

    The proper duty of a government is to protect the borders of the country from invaders, keep the citizens safe, and provide for the general welfare by maintaining a level playing field for all businesses. Governments should never try to do for the citizens what the citizens can do for themselves.

    If the French purchase of electric vehicles will prove to be done for the cost savings over the life of the vehicles in government use, it is good. If it will cost more than what would have been purchased, then it is bad.

    The federal and/or state rebates or tax credits fall into this same boat. They are creating a false demand for vehicles that may very well not be able to survive without taxpayer subsidies, and that is what these credits and rebates actually are.

    While we are on the subject, will you please identify the vehicle description and performance characteristics of these electric vehicles, and tell us where this is in the article. You are writing in GAS 2.0 which has been an on-line magazine about vehicles. This article appears to be a totally political article in support of government subsidies for vehicles which are not economically viable without a subsidy. This article belongs in a political blog, not an automotive blog.

    • Nick Chambers

      Chuck,

      Quit complaining about politics. We’ve had this conversation before. Gas 2.0 is about the future of transportation and it is not just an automotive blog. We’ve regularly featured political posts in the past and we will in the future. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. Our political posts tend to be balanced and to the point, which is what we welcome here. You certainly spend a large majority of your time ranting about your rather lopsided and somewhat extreme politics in the comments section, so maybe you should take a bit of your own advice.

  • ChuckL

    Sorry Christopher, but you are wrong, and we have to change the word “objective” to “proper duty”.

    The proper duty of a government is to protect the borders of the country from invaders, keep the citizens safe, and provide for the general welfare by maintaining a level playing field for all businesses. Governments should never try to do for the citizens what the citizens can do for themselves.

    If the French purchase of electric vehicles will prove to be done for the cost savings over the life of the vehicles in government use, it is good. If it will cost more than what would have been purchased, then it is bad.

    The federal and/or state rebates or tax credits fall into this same boat. They are creating a false demand for vehicles that may very well not be able to survive without taxpayer subsidies, and that is what these credits and rebates actually are.

    While we are on the subject, will you please identify the vehicle description and performance characteristics of these electric vehicles, and tell us where this is in the article. You are writing in GAS 2.0 which has been an on-line magazine about vehicles. This article appears to be a totally political article in support of government subsidies for vehicles which are not economically viable without a subsidy. This article belongs in a political blog, not an automotive blog.

    • Nick Chambers

      Chuck,

      Quit complaining about politics. We’ve had this conversation before. Gas 2.0 is about the future of transportation and it is not just an automotive blog. We’ve regularly featured political posts in the past and we will in the future. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. Our political posts tend to be balanced and to the point, which is what we welcome here. You certainly spend a large majority of your time ranting about your rather lopsided and somewhat extreme politics in the comments section, so maybe you should take a bit of your own advice.

  • douglas prince

    Yeah, Chuck, if you wanna rant about government subsidies, I can direct you to a few thousand screaming boards out there now and I’ll gladly throw down about the subsidation of the farming and petroleum industries. But like Nick said, this board is about cars, not causes.

    Maybe you and Constantin should compare tinfoil hat sizes…

  • douglas prince

    Yeah, Chuck, if you wanna rant about government subsidies, I can direct you to a few thousand screaming boards out there now and I’ll gladly throw down about the subsidation of the farming and petroleum industries. But like Nick said, this board is about cars, not causes.

    Maybe you and Constantin should compare tinfoil hat sizes…

  • douglas prince

    That being said, this IS France and you can never be too sure how serious they’re going to take this initiative or for how long. And even if they move forward, lord help us if some vehicle parts are made outside of the country and the general populace gets into a foment moment and shuts down the whole country decrying “foreign interference” with the French marketplace!

    Remember what happened when McDonald’s first “invaded” their hillsides? The yahoos…

  • douglas prince

    That being said, this IS France and you can never be too sure how serious they’re going to take this initiative or for how long. And even if they move forward, lord help us if some vehicle parts are made outside of the country and the general populace gets into a foment moment and shuts down the whole country decrying “foreign interference” with the French marketplace!

    Remember what happened when McDonald’s first “invaded” their hillsides? The yahoos…

  • jeffhree

    ChuckL

    Lets talk about economic externalities of car purchases and operations. One that gets to me is the economic costs of lower birth weight babies due to pollutants. Can we have your permission to talk of that on an autoblog. And if government purchases can help move stats like this in the right direction, could that be a proper duty? And how much cost savings from mitigating unnecessary respiratory and heart disorders would justify government purchases of more efficient cars that don’t use imported oil?

    Say maybe you are right, save your moralizing for some other site, maybe they will have issues where your preconceived notions of governmental duty don’t blind you to the other half of every discussion. Since you opened the door, in democracies people can vote to decide to narrow or expand the “duties” of government, and the only actual assistance we need from you is in a ballot booth. Thanks so much, in advance.

  • jeffhree

    ChuckL

    Lets talk about economic externalities of car purchases and operations. One that gets to me is the economic costs of lower birth weight babies due to pollutants. Can we have your permission to talk of that on an autoblog. And if government purchases can help move stats like this in the right direction, could that be a proper duty? And how much cost savings from mitigating unnecessary respiratory and heart disorders would justify government purchases of more efficient cars that don’t use imported oil?

    Say maybe you are right, save your moralizing for some other site, maybe they will have issues where your preconceived notions of governmental duty don’t blind you to the other half of every discussion. Since you opened the door, in democracies people can vote to decide to narrow or expand the “duties” of government, and the only actual assistance we need from you is in a ballot booth. Thanks so much, in advance.

  • http://Web JoeTheStumbler

    meybe the fence sitters will find themselves in a french 4seater soon

    • http://Web JoeTheStumbler

      France is largely powered by nuclear plants, so they are in an especially convenient position to invest in electric cars, for it will boost their nuclear industry, at the same time they gamble that eventually electric cars will take off worldwide and if/when it does, they be among the frontrunner getting the juicy fruits

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