How abundant would electric-car charging stations have to be in order to dispel range anxiety entirely?
A network of roads with charging stations every 25 miles would seem adequate, wouldn't it?
That could soon be the case in France, thanks to a massive network expansion by Bollore--the company behind the Autolib electric-car sharing service--that's getting support from the national government.
Bollore plans to invest 150 million euros (about $186 million) over the next four years to build a network of 16,000 charging stations. The mix of DC fast-charging and conventional stations isn't yet fixed.
The completed network would mean no one in the country would be more than 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) away from a charging station at any time, Bollore CEO Vincent Bollore claims.
In addition to providing some kind of tax incentive for the project, the French government is also considering increasing the maximum rebate for purchasing a new electric car or hybrid from 6,300 euros (about $7,840) to 10,000 euros ($12,450).
It's the more positive side of a policy meant to wean French drivers off the diesel cars and trucks that have been dominant in the country for decades.
That includes potentially raising taxes on the fuel--something that, given that roughly two thirds of cars on French roads use diesel, previous administrations have been hesitant to do.
Next year, the government will also launch an identification system that ranks vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit. This could allow local authorities to exclude the worst offenders from urban areas.
Bolloré BlueCar electric car used for Autolib' car-sharing service in Paris, September 2012
The Autolib car-sharing service currently operates about 2,500 electric Bluecars in Paris, with 105,000 subscribers.
French automaker Renault is also one of the most prolific manufacturers of electric cars. It's sold about 50,000 over the past four years, and together it and partner Nissan control 58 percent of the segment.