By on January 22, 2010

Denmark is keen to show the world, especially after the Copenhagen Conference, that they mean “green.” Denmark is setting up an infrastructure to support electric car recharging, however the other side to this grand scheme are throwing their toys out of the electric car. The Copenhagen Post reports that Renault are threatening to withdraw the electric cars which they were supposed to supply to “Better Place”, the company monitoring the installation of the electric car infrastructure. The reason behind this shocking behaviour (see what I did there?) is that Renault believe that the Danish government are not giving enough favourable car tax breaks to electric cars. The government’s policy is to give electric cars exemption from normal vehicle registration tax of 180%* until 2012.

But previous Climate and Energy minister, Connie Hedegaard hinted that an exemption or a tax reduction would be extended until 2015, but no clarification has been given. ‘If we don’t get a clarification, then we at Renault want to focus on other countries for the first electric cars,’ Henrik Bang CEO of Renault Denmark said. Mr Bang also added that Renault wanted the issue resolved within six months. Jørgen Hostmann, an expert in electric car technology at the Technical University of Denmark, is telling the government to take Renault’s threat extremely seriously. “If Denmark wants to be a testing ground for electric cars, it will have to create a base for new companies and open up greater opportunities for existing companies. Without clarification on the tax issue, there is doubt,” Hostmann said. The current Climate and Energy minister, Lykke Friis, said that the issue was “complicated” and that the government was working with the stakeholders in the project to resolve the issue.

It’s looking like the French government might be starting to enjoy mixing politics with their car industry a bit too much. Maybe the Danish government should speak to BMW… the Bavarians have some experience snatching contracts away from Renault.

* = That’s right, you didn’t misread. 180%. In researching this article, I went to www.toyota.dk to compare prices. A base model Toyota Prius costs 385,041 Danish Krone. Which works out to be, roughly, £45,000. Or roughly $73,000. Never mind burning rubber (not that you could in a Prius), what about the hole burnt in your pocket? [Editor's note: a recent discussion of European car price comparisons can be found here]

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14 Comments on “Renault Threatens Denmark With Project Better Place Pullout...”


  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Wow! That tax is obscene. Don’t want to offend, but how can Europeans stand their governments? May I meekly say that they have been “bought out”? Hey! Nothing new there…that’s exactly what the current gov in my country promises people, “give me your money and I’ll take care of you” (Fat Chance)

    Anyways if I was Denmark I’d just give Renault the middle finger.

  • avatar
    Syke

    I have a funny feeling that the Danes are quite satisfied with the situation just as it is. A country as small as that, with a good public transportation infrastructure wouldn’t need to put the kind of emphasis on the automobile like we take for granted.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    Denmark, as a country, has more to lose from global climate change than most. Demonstrating a viable alternative to ICE and the CO2 they produce is very important to them as a means of convincing other countries to adopt something similar to Better Place. Israel, another BP test country, has similar motivations regarding the global importance of oil to the economies of the world.

  • avatar
    Adub

    Yeah, Denmark has lots to lose- they’ve conned everyone else into believing in global warming, and positioned themselves as the leader in “green” tech. Not nukes, because they don’t allow them, but windmills and other inefficient crap. If the global warming con ends, or if Western governments go Tango Uniform when their debt loads become unsustainable, Denmark is toast.

    All of their technology is overpriced and cost-inefficient. Their pursuit of windmill technology has required even more coal powerplants for reserves, and a Danish study even concluded that Denmark exports its overpriced green electricity, selling it to other countries at market rates. So Danes are paying extra for other people to enjoy their “green” tech at lower prices.

    Denmark is like every other piddly country: they think they do it better than everyone else, and their way is superior.

    I think Texas should invade them, and crush them under the heel of their cowboy boots.

  • avatar
    Adamatari

    Denmark (and Scandinavia in general) has a different social contract than America. It’s as simple as that. In exchange for high taxes, you have a government safety net and subsidies for EVERYTHING. It’s easy to ridicule if you think that low taxes are the sum of freedom, but in terms of political rights Denmark is as free as the USA. Remember, the famous Muhammad cartoons came from Denmark, and were pretty publicly supported by the government.

    Aside from that, Denmark’s unemployment rate is 4.4%. No matter how you cut it, that’s a nice number. So, maybe you can’t get a car easily. That sucks. Instead, you get health care, employment, good public transportation, 37 hour work weeks with 5 weeks vacation…

    If you don’t like it, don’t move there, or move away. Just like anywhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      Adub

      Sorry, but they have the mindset of serfs, giving everything to the government and being happy with what they get back. And they only have their freedom because of us. The unemployment numbers you cited are more fictional than the ones our government puts out. They are “official” like Pravda.

      Yes, they are one of our few allies in the war on terror, and they printed the Muhammed cartoons that our country was too cowardly to print, but that’s as much credit as I’ll give them.

  • avatar
    Martin Schwoerer

    Insulting a whole nation seems to work pretty good for some folks.
    Brings to mind what my uncle taught me, “a real patriot understands that everybody loves their country, and therefore he never denigrates a whole people”.

  • avatar
    Nullo

    @Adub

    Pretty much everything you’ve written is bs…

    Our unemployment rate is at a historic low,- your claim that the unemployment numbers Adamantari mentioned are fictional is something you just pulled out of your…

    …Unemployment numbers have hovered between 3.1 and 6.1 the last couple of years (Source: Statistics Denmark).

    And no…we don’t just “give everything to the government”. We pay income-tax, around 50%, and in return we get healthcare, subsidies and what not. We elected our government ourselves so…those we “give thr money” to are those we elected to manage the taxes. Actually..I don’t believe there’s a single political party in Denmark, who favours serious tax-cuts and the abandonment of the Danish welfare system.

    What’s important is really not how much we pay in taxes, but the disposable income after taxes. After you’ve paid for insurance, education etc etc. I believe we have pretty much the same left on our pay check. Also…minimum wage in Denmark is around $20…after taxes there’s around $12 left…money you don’t have to spend on health insurance etc etc.

    “And they only have their freedom because of us.”

    Ehhh…OK…right. And you owe your “freedom” to China or what?
    …the only reason you guys have been able to maintain such an absurd level of consumption for +50 years is by borrowing money of the Chinese…

    Please disregard bad grammar, bad spelling and the like…English is not my mother tongue.

    Cheers

    P.S. We have two cars…a 2007 Volkswagen Polo and a 2005 Fiat Croma…My wife and I are both teachers…

  • avatar
    Pig_Iron

    Can he see other vampire drivers in his rear-views?

  • avatar
    FromBrazil

    Nice choice of cars Nullo!

    As to the politics can’t we just agree to disagree? I mean the system in the US is why some choose to live in America, the system in Denmark is why some choose to live there. Different strokes for different folks and to each his own. Words to live by IMHO.

  • avatar
    T2

    My wife and I are both teachers…

    …… and also members of a public service union no doubt.

    That’s the problem – as govt employees you can live the good life. Out in the private sector since there is a lack of large scale manufacturing there is little opportunity for any union to organise. Consequently I assume there is only a collection of low salary non union jobs outside of govt in Denmark ?

    That is the fantasy that is beginning in Canada where our govt recently paid out to Chrysler and GM an average of $2.7M per line worker in order to shore up our rapidly evaporating industrial base. Unless the govt is going to print money they need to tax workers in the private sector to pay for the salaries of those in the public sector. Or increase consumption tax rates on goods and services such that even the govt employees end up paying back in to the govt monies which will be helping to finance their own jobs LOL.

    Otherwise we could end up with our bloated civil service overseeing a vast legion of welfare recipients. I don’t doubt that the govt can prop up such a wild scenario in Canada by using the royalties levied from the shipment of Alberta oil into the US.

    But on top of that the federal govt is proroguing Parliament again this year – effectively suspending legal dissent until March 3rd. I can see that is going to send pitchforks and firebrands in the street sooner than later. Pitchforks and firebrands ?? Hmmm a new manufacturing opportunity could be opening up right there :=)

  • avatar
    shaker

    One would think that a peninsula country like Denmark would have high stakes in sea level rise; thus their interest in reducing CO2.

  • avatar
    Nullo

    @ FromBrazil: Words to live by indeed! I just couldn’t sit tight and listen to Adub spew out lies and misconceptions.

    @ T2: We both teach at private schools so…anyway…we earn pretty much the same as public school teachers.
    And yeah…we’re organized in a union…as are +95% of Denmarks work force.

  • avatar
    larshvelplund

    A lot of studies indicate that Danes are one of the happiest people in the world. And that’s gotta be the best way to measure how good a country is doing right?
    Maybe happiness does not come from buying a large 4-wheel drive or seeing a big fat pay check every month.
    We are (in DK) happy to support each other  and making sure that our neighbour is doing all right. It gives a certain satisfaction not to see homeless people on the street (the only homeless people in Denmark are people who’ve individually chosen to be so=almost none) plus knowing that no matter who you are and what your income is there’s a place for you in a hospital.
    That Denmark owe their freedom to the US is just absurd. That belief represent the attitude that such a big part of the world can’t stand. Americans, gods people, are above all.
    Best regards,
    Lars Hvelplund
     


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