France Looking To Develop Its Own Super-Cheap Electric Car

Dec 04, 2015 11:44 AM EST | John Nassivera

France revealed Thursday at the United Nations' Climate Change Conference in Paris that it plans to develop an electric car cheap enough for the Average Joe as a way to better reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

Segolene Royal, France's minister of ecology, sustainable development, and energy, said that the government is aiming to build an EV that will cost between €5,000 and €7,000 (about $5,400 and $7,600), which is cheap compared to most all-electric cars due to the costs of battery packs, according to The Verge.

She said in an interview with 20 Minutes that France plans to keep costs low for buyers by having the car use replaceable battery, BGR reported. All drivers would need to do is drop depleted cells at special stations around the country, where they can replace them with recharged cells.

France's approach is similar to that of one used by Taiwanese electric scooter company Gogoro, which lets buyers swap the scooter's batteries at automated kiosks around Taipei so they don't have to recharge them at home or in parking lots.

Royal said at the COP21 that the car would be able to charge its battery in 30 minutes and drive 500 km (about 311 miles) on a single charge, The Hindu noted. The EV would also be made up of materials that would make it much lighter than today's green cars.

France's new plan is the latest effort in making it more affordable for people to drive electric cars, with some companies currently offering lease programs for EVs, according to Engadget.

The electric car, if it launches, may pose as competition for Tesla, as it will cost less than the Model 3, which is priced at $35,000 and is Tesla's cheapest car, BGR noted. The Model 3 will be available to drivers starting in March 2016.

France will start receiving proposals for the super-cheap EV next year.

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