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