At the climate talks in Paris, the French government has announced a global competition that aims to create a small electric car that would sell for under €7,000, the equivalent of just under £5,000.
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 be 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 should be an upper limit, and suggested that the price could be as low as €5,000 – that's around the £3,500 mark.
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. India’s low-cost electric vehicle, the e20, cost the equivalent of £10,000 when it first launched. It, however, received a poor reception from consumers. Whether France’s effort can do any better remains to be seen.