For 25 years Denmark has supported the adoption of electric vehicles by excluding them from the hefty 200% tax levied on new cars.
However, due to the limited capabilities of the models available, only 497 electric cars are registered in the entire country, as the New York Times pointed out in a recent article. All eyes are now on Palo Alto-based Better Place, which has an ambitious plan to re-engineer the electric car market. The company is now in Copenhagen allowing reporters to test-drive its platform.
Better Place has teamed up with Renault Nissan, which will produce advanced mass-market cars that can drive up to 100 miles on a single charge. Better Place will own the car battery and charge per mile driven. The Company is building out 500k charge spots and 150 battery swap stations throughout Denmark, paving the way for convenient adoption of EVs.
It takes several hours to recharge the car battery, so swap stations will enable long journeys by installing a new battery in less time than it takes to fill up a tank of gas.
Dong Energy, Denmark’s largest utility, has partnered with Better Place and plans to supply the electric cars with wind energy. Denmark already derives 20% of its power from wind. Cars would typically be charged overnight, when the wind blows strongest, but power demand is generally low.
Better Place is also making a strong push to bring electric vehicles to the Israeli market, where fuel is taxed at 100% and new cars at 83%, while EVs benefit from significantly reduced import tax. The Company is targeting 2011 for its mass market debut.