At the climate talks in Paris, the French government has announced a global competition which aims to create a small electric car that will sell for under $7,500.
In a translation provided at the event, Madame Ségolène Royal, the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, explained that she wanted to “create an electric car for the people.” She envisions the car as being small, light, fast-charging, and with an appearance that “may not look like traditional electric cars.” She also pointed out that the €7,000 price tag—which is roughly $7,500—should be an upper limit, and suggested that the price could be as low as $5,300.
The plans would eventually see France rolling out the low-cost car around the country, in an attempt to shift more of the nation’s vehicle fleet to electric. Royal also said that she hoped the competition would spur innovation—in material and battery development, as well as new modes of car use. “In emerging countries, the growing middle class means that there are more and more vehicles being purchased and most of these cars are fossil fuel cars,” she pointed out. “This is a very attractive solution.”
It’s not the first plan to create an affordable electric car. In India, the low-cost electric vehicle known as e2o is on sale, which cost $15,000 when it first launched. It, however, received a poor reception from consumers. Whether France’s effort can do any better remains to be seen.
Correction: An earlier version of this article claimed that the India’s affordable electric car was the Tata Nano. It wasn’t: it was the e20.
Image by AP