No one will buy electric cars if there are no plug-in stations, but no one will build plug-in stations without EVs on the road. That’s the conundrum for both car makers and plug-in infrastructure companies. Fortunately, the public sector is stepping in to help out. Last week we wrote about Duke Energy’s and FPL’s commitment to buy $600 million in EV fleets. Today the French government announced it will spend $2.2 billion on a battery-charging EV network.
The French are taking no prisoners in their battle to make EVs mainstream–the country plans to make charging sockets mandatory in new apartment blocks by 2012 and in all office parking lots by 2015. France will also soon be home to a Renault SA facility with a production capacity of 100,000 batteries each year.
The United States hasn’t invested quite so much cash or energy into a country-wide charging network, but Obama has announced plans to put one million PHEVs on the road by 2015. Of course, that’s a goal that will only be possible if a charging and battery switching network is available to support the cars. Such a charging infrastructure may exist soon enough, albeit without a direct cash infusion from the government–Better Place is already in talks with officials in Oregon and California about installing a network of battery-switching stations.