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France is trying to spur development of an ultra-cheap electric car

France is trying to spur development of an ultra-cheap electric car

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At the UN's Climate Change Conference currently being held outside Paris, Ségolène Royal, France's minister of ecology, sustainable development, and energy, put an interesting challenge on the table: come up with a plan to sell an electric car for €5,000 to €7,000 (about $5,400 to $7,600). That's an extraordinarily low price for any vehicle, much less an all-electric one, where MSRPs tend to run higher thanks to the costs associated with the battery packs. 20 Minutes has an interview with Royal where she mentions the initiative.

To push the price that low, Royal remarked that the car would employ some sort of rental / swap strategy for the batteries. That sounds a bit like Taiwanese electric scooter company Gogoro, which launched earlier this year in its hometown of Taipei and plans to expand to Amsterdam in 2016. After purchasing the scooter, riders swap the milk jug-sized batteries at automated kiosks placed around the city, rather than recharging at home or in a parking lot. The car would also be small, likely making this more of a commuter machine than a cross-country utility vehicle for the whole family.

The call for proposals to build France's ultra-cheap EV will run next year. There's no indication that Gogoro might be interested, but CEO Horace Luke has remarked in the past that the company's battery-swap technology could eventually move beyond the scooter form factor, so it'd certainly make sense.