Denmark's DONG Bets Big On EVs


DONG's director Anders Eldrup estimates half a million EVs in Denmark by 2020

TreeHugger fav Shai Agassi announced his Project Better Place has teamed with car-maker Renault and Denmark's unfortunately named DONG utility to build an electric vehicle infrastructure, first in Copenhagen and then the rest of the country, modeled loosely on the EV plans now underway in Israel, by 2011.

DONG (Dansk Olie og NaturGas) has over 600 MW of installed onshore and offshore wind around Europe, and CEO Anders Eldrup emphasized that excess wind capacity (produced largely at night) is a natural fit with a network of electric cars charging up at owners' homes and offices. DONG promised 100 EVs would zip around Copenhagen's thoroughfares by 2009, and estimated that by 2020 20 percent of the market (half a million cars) would be EVs. The partners said they'd invest US$42 million in the projects (read more after the fold).First off, the Danish press questioned whether DONG can pull off its promises. The Renault Megane shown at the announcement wasn't a true EV but a re-built gas car with a 360 volt, 40 ampere lithium-ion battery that viewers were not allowed to photograph. The car was supposed to do 0 - 100 kilometers in 7.5 seconds, with a range of 150 kilometers on a charge (8 hours to recharge). The battery was estimated to weigh 200 kilos. Not entirely impressive, said the Danish Elbil Committee. Renault said electric versions of the Megane as well as the Laguna would be available by 2011. Though Agassi expects other car makers to join the project, that may mean a big lag between the first 100 and the first 10,000 EVs on Danish roads.

DONG's Eldrup said electric cars would be very attractive to the Danish public if the government agrees to major tax incentives (consumers in Denmark currently pay around 180 percent in registration taxes for a new car). Project Better Place's EV model includes leasing car batteries to drivers instead of selling them outright - and project plans include 150 battery swap stations. Dismayingly, Eldrup said in times of low wind, electricity to recharge the Danish fleet would come from coal-fired plants (Denmark is about 20 percent wind and the rest coal and imports).

On the upside, however, Agassi maintains that 2 million connected EVs could provide the standby backup power Denmark needs (especially if it installs more wind) by storing excess generation of wind and possibly feeding it back to the grid in times of high demand. In addition to Israel and Denmark, Germany, Japan, Hawaii and London were mentioned as prospects for similar Project Better Place EV infrastructures. Via ::The Register

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