Giving Praise to Cities That Promote Electric Cars

By · November 30, 2011

Most EV drivers are proud of their cars. Other drivers and bystanders may not notice the absence of a tailpipe, but some EV drivers will get a bumper sticker to tell the world they drive without oil. Driving an EV can also make you look good when you pick up your kids at school (and don't pollute the air they breathe). In places where you are what you drive—California comes to mind—an EV will earn you status as a green and responsible adult. So, it may be worth taking advantage of the favorable public mood towards EVs by giving awards to the best electric car cities. That's what AVERE-France—a European non-profit dedicated to promoting the use of battery, hybrid and fuel cell electric vehicles—has been doing.

The Trophée des villes électromobiles award

The "Trophée des villes électromobiles" award

AVERE's members are vehicle and equipment manufacturers, electricity utilities, and research & development groups. (Its American counterpart is the Electric Drive Transportation Association.) Last week, AVERE-France presented its second annual awards, the Trophées des Villes Electromobiles (electromobile cities trophies). To reward a city seems unusual, but cities can do a lot to promote electric mobility. Cities own several vehicles that can be electric. Cities can arrange free parking for EVs or public charging stations on the street. There are plenty of things a city can do, and many mayors want people to learn about their pro-EV activities.

Announcing the winners

Announcing the winners

Cities were sorted by size. Population below 20,000 people; between 20,000 and 50,000; between 50,000 and 100,000; between 100,000 and 200,000, and over 200,000. Here's what the winners have done. The city of Chassieu bought seven EVs for city use, and it turned some streets into zero emission areas where only EVs or bikes can go. In Venelles, people will find six charging stations and new buildings are required to have parking with charging points. In Le Vésinet, all street sweeping is done with EVs. The city of Epernay already owns 12 EVs, and it will buy two more cars next year. In Les Mureaux, there are five free charging stations, and the city has helped a new manufacturing company which is expected to launch a small 3-wheel electric vehicle in 2012.

Of course, larger towns like Beauvais can do more. That city owns 12 EVs, it will get 20 more in 2012, and eight public charging stations. Beauvais is also one of the very few places in the world to have all-electric buses. There are only three of them, but the city will get two more of them each year until 2016. Besançon owns 38 EVs and the Rouen county was the largest winner, because it signed an agreement with Renault to use the city as a testbed for EVs. With a factory just next to the city, Renault is one the largest employers in town, and that made an agreement easy to reach.

All the winners

All the winners with Charlotte de Silguy (back row, in the middle) and Philippe Aussourd (back row, on the right) from AVERE-France

They were many more things presented, though the ceremony was a low-key event. Yet it showed that quite a lot of people are working to make electric mobility a reality. It was nice to hear about them. More importantly, the Trophées des Villes Electromobiles gives ideas to cities that haven't done anything yet—encouraging them to go electric, and without spending a fortune. Setting up a few public charging stations doesn't cost much. EVs can become cost-effective for city fleets, if you look at total cost of ownership, instead of simply looking at the high purchasing price. Cities can lead the way, and when they do, we should make a big deal about it.

New to EVs? Start here

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