Berlin Announces Plans for World's Largest Community Electric Car Infrastructure

Smart Car electric car being charged at Brandenburg Gate photo

On Friday, Chancellor Angela Merkel gave the green light to an ambitious infrastructure project, launching the world's largest community effort for climate-friendly electric cars. Electricity provider RWE will install 500 power-points, where electric cars can charge up. Daimler AG and Smart are partnering in the project, which aims to have100 electric Smart Cars on the streets of Berlin by the end of 2009.

But the announcement has started a battle of images. Click over the fold to see what the project looks like from two perspectives.

Daimler image shows an electric Smart car under a wind mill photo

Image source: Daimler from Autokiste
Vision of a Green Transport Future
Of course, Daimler images show an electric Smart car under a tall windmill, emphasizing the potential for electric autos to run on eco-friendly power. The project is being supported by federal funds due to its value as a model for future eco-friendly infrastructure. Working together, the power company and the auto manufacturer have developed a unique built-in communications system that allows the electric car to automatically activate the billing at the intelligent charging point.

Greenpeace demonstrators shovel coal in front of a Smart car dressed to look like a pig photo

Image source: Greenpeace from Autokiste
Nightmare of Coal-powered Cars
In what may seem an ironic protest by a green organization against an apparently green initiative, Greenpeace's provocative counter-image emphasizes the point that the partnership for electric car infrastructure has not made any promise to deliver electricity only from renewable resources. In fact, Greenpeace argues, running a car on diesel is cleaner than an electric car powered by coal-burning power plants, which do dominate Germany's generation capacities.

But, every new path has to start somewhere. What do you think, dear readers? Should the green community welcome attempts to visualize and test new infrastructures for the paradigm change that must come, even if it means relying on the ultimately less ecological technology which is currently at hand? Or must each step along the path forward be optimized to ensure that no extra kilogram of carbon tips the climate's delicate balance? Will Berlin be the city of eco-Smart cars or simply energy pigs?

More on Electric Smart Cars in Germany
Germany Targets 125,000 Megawatts Of Wind Power By 2030
Video: Test Driving an Electric Smart Car
More on Green Cars
How to Go Green: Cars
Which Green Car is Right for You?
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TreeHugger Forums: e-car: Germany Powers up!

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