Portugal has signed an agreement with Renault and Nissan to supply and promote zero-emission electric cars by the 2011 in a bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20 per cent by the year 2020, as proposed by the European Union in its plan to fight global warming.
As per the agreement, the Franco-Japanese joint venture of Renault and Nissan will start delivering its electric cars by early 2011. Portugal will undertake to make 320 vehicle charging locations operational across the country by 2010 and expand the number of charging stations to 1,300 by the end of 2011.
Portugal will pass a decree to ensure that one fifth of all its public fleet of vehicles bought from the year 2011 will be zero-emission.
At a time when the world is going through the motions of financial crisis and most European nations are under recession, Portugal is still committed to invest vast sums of money in clean energy and be in the forefront of implementing the highly determined EU plan to fight global warming.
Apart from EU's plan of reducing carbon emissions, Portugal has ambitious plans of its own and envisages producing up to 60 per cent of its electricity from wind, sun, wave and other clean energy sources by 2020.
Renault and Nissan who will market electric car globally by 2012, have already signed such agreements with Demark, Israel and the state of Oregon, Tennessee and Sonoma County in northern California in the US, but Portugal will be the first European nation to sign an agreement with the Franco-Japanese car company.
Jose Socrates, the prime minister of Portugal said the main hindrance for people to opt for electric cars was the price and autonomy which the government proposes to exclude these two inconveniences for buyers.
He added, that the government would give tax incentives from the year 2010 to 2015 of about €800 ($1,000) in order to make buying of electric cars more attractive to people as well as tax incentives for companies such as exemption of road and other vehicle taxes if they convert their cars to electric-powered vehicles.
The government will also come up with other incentives such as nominal parking rates, preferential access and financing subsidies.
The financing and operation terms for the charging network are still being negotiated by the government with the private sector.
The agreement signed by Renault-Nissan with Portugal, states that the car company will supply electric cars from early 2011, which will have a range of approx 160 km on one charge and Renault-Nissan will then be allowed to sell the car globally in 2012.
Carlos Tavares, executive vice president of Nissan Motor said the company had finished designing the electric car in September and the running range was sufficient for most people's daily needs.
He also said that the cost of purchase, maintenance and running the electric car would be the same or even lower compared to a conventional car and the company will be coming out with different models aimed at giving the consumer a wide choice.
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