Portugal has linked up with French carmaker Renault and its Japanese partner Nissan to boost the use of electric cars by creating a national recharging network.
The aim is to make Portugal – which imports all its oil – one of the first countries to offer drivers the possibility of nationwide charging stations, putting more electric vehicle on the roads at a time of soaring fuel prices.
Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates attended the signing of a memorandum of understanding on the project.
Socrates said: “We want to increase Portugal’s autonomy in terms of energy, so that future generations can make their own decisions and we are not at the mercy of others, as we are today.”
Renault and Nissan are working on developing a battery powered car with a 160 kilometre range to be sold in Portugal from 2011. Carlos Ghosn promised: “We want to make large scale availability of zero emission vehicles one of our main priorities in the short and long term.”
On the conventional car front, Renault has just lowered its sales target for the year. It expects sales to rise between 5% and 10%, down from its earlier growth target of 10% due to the impact of uncertain economic and financial developments on European car markets.