Denmark Goes All-In on Electric Cars
Deal with Better Place aims to make it a 'laboratory country'
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2009 9:52 AM CST
Shai Agassi, right, and the CEO of Danish state-controlled energy group DONG Energy Anders Eldrup examine an electric car in Copenhagen, March 27, 2008.    (AP Photo/POLFOTO, Jonas Pryner Andersen)

(Newser) – Denmark is so gung-ho about electric cars that it’s giving its people a $40,000 tax credit to buy one, and planning to line the streets with charging and battery-swap stations. They’re even keeping free parking open for them in downtown Copenhagen. Yet consumers, and some industry experts, remain skeptical, the New York Times reports. “There is a psychological barrier for consumers when their car is dependent on a battery station,” says one energy professor. “It’s risky.”

Denmark is one of two test countries (Israel is the other) for Better Place, a Silicon Valley company that aims to create infrastructure for electric cars, including robotic stations that can swap out batteries to enable long trips without lengthy recharge times. They’re also partnering with Dong Energy to charge their fleet with otherwise excess windmill power at night. But Better Place is well behind in its rollout, and even supporters fear the $1 million battery-swap stations will prove impractical.