Friday, February 28, 2014

Electric Estonia

Posted by Daryl Worthington in Green Cars, Green living, 7 hours ago

Many policy makers have something of a mental block when discussing the issue of environmentally friendly transportation. Electric cars and electrified public transport are a realistic proposition but one that is very rarely pursued with any enthusiasm or vigour. The last few years, however, have seen the Estonian government begin initiatives regarding both of these issues and take real strides towards the implementation of a greener transport network. The first and most striking of these being free access to public transport in the nation’s capital, implemented in January 2013.

In February, 2013 Estonia created what was considered to be the world’s first electric car charging network. 165 “fast chargers” have been installed around the country, each no further than 60km from another. Each charger is capable of fully recharging a car battery in 30 minutes — a level of efficiency that makes this a practical system and one that asks serious questions of the efforts made by other countries. There are 3,000 charging points in the UK, but many of them take up to 8 hours to recharge a car battery which is hardly practical.

The incentives to buy an electric car are also very strong in Estonia. In 2011 the Estonian government distributed 500 Mitsubishi i-MiEV cars to social workers, an attempt to get government departments to lead by example. On top of this the government offers grants of up to 18000 euros to motorists to assist citizens in buying an electric car. In comparison the equivalent offer by the British government is a maximum of 6000 euros.