x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Top 5: Countries taking strides towards greener transportation

Five countries where the governments are seriously promoting the production and buying of electric cars.

The Active-E , an electric car made by German car manufacturer BMW, at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai last April.
The Active-E , an electric car made by German car manufacturer BMW, at the Shanghai Auto Show in Shanghai last April.


This country, with a population of more than 1.3 billion, has made electric cars a national priority. It plans to put more than one million EVs on the road every year by 2015 and 10 million electric cars and buses by 2020, helped by a 100 billion yuan (Dh58bn) injection into the local industry. Foreign car makers such as Volkswagen and BMW are joining local car makers to help develop the technology. In addition, the government has set subsidies for buyers and has starting building charging infrastructure in various cities.


The government has ambitious targets to have 10 per cent of all its cars be EVs by 2020, meaning about 250,000 vehicles. To do this, it is offering €5,000 in incentives for car buyers as well as exempting them from the Vehicle Registration Tax. Meanwhile, the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) is providing about 3,500 home and public charging stations across the country, while Renault-Nissan has agreed to supply its electric cars - most notably, the Nissan Leaf - and set up pilot projects for other EVs there.


This European giant is delving into electric cars, and has allocated billions of euros towards research and development, along with offering tax rebates and free parking for electric car owners. But Germany is also looking beyond electrons, investing heavily in a hydrogen fuel infrastructure. The government, along with the car company Daimler, is subsidising the building of 20 hydrogen filling stations across the country, with plans for 1,000 stations in 10 years, with an eye towards the eventual introduction of fuel-cell powered cars.


California-based Better Place partnered with the Israeli government to install more than 1,000 charging stations for EVs in car parks in various cities across the country. The company also has battery swapping stations to allow quick "refills" for specially prepared Fluenze saloons from Renault, with whom Better Place has signed a partnership agreement. The business model has consumers buying an electric car but renting the battery off Better Place, thus lowering the cost of the car itself.


The computing company Oracle has teamed up with a consortium of Portuguese companies to form Mobi.E, an organisation dedicated to setting up charging stations in a smart-grid-type application across the country. So far, it has set up more than 1,300 slow-charging stations and 50 fast-charging stations in Portugal. The country already produces about 43 per cent of its electricity through renewable sources, and the government has also offered incentives of up to Dh36,731 for electric car buyers.