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]