Berlin Hearts Electric Smarts
Londoners know (because a fleet of almost 100 is already running): the electric Smart fortwo is an big improvement on the original. It’s economical and smooth, without the wheezy engine and the miserable, jerky transmission of the gas-powered (or God forbid, Diesel) version. Greeny Berliners think: electric cars would be the zero-emission way to go, if you could just charge them somewhere (who has a garage in the city?) Bringing both factors together and hoping that they gel, the German government has started a project with the generic-sounding name “e-mobility Berlin”. It will be the world’s biggest e-car pilot project, involving Daimler and RWE, a utility, which will install 500 public charging stations. The charging stations will have token solar cells, but are basically about coal-derived electricity (take that, global-warming activists!) Daimler’s main motivation is to field-test its e-Smarts, scheduled for massive roll-out in the magic year (guess!) On TV, I saw Angela Merkel, Germany’s often dour, physicist-by-training head of government talk about the project with bright eyes: “It only takes two hours to re-charge the batteries? Just the time you need to go shopping!” As they say, some ways of thinking die hard.
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