A U.S. startup is working with Denmark's biggest utility to develop the recharging infrastucture needed to make electric cars practical.
As most international news organizations -- ours included -- are being gutted, the New York Times stands alone in the U.S. as the one newspaper still committed to reporting international news.
Earlier in the week, the Times reported on a big push in Denmark, the world leader in alternative energy sources like wind power, to promote electric cars. "For all their potential, electric cars have always been the subject of more talk than action, and only a handful are on the road in Denmark," Times reporter Nelson Schwartz noted in a Dec. 1 dispatch from Copenhagen.
Schwartz reports that Denmark's biggest utility is working with a Silicon Valley startup to develop the power and recharging infrastructure needed to make e-cars practical. Better Place (Palo Alto, Calif.) claims to be the world's leading e-car services provider. The company's collaboration with Danish utility Dong Energy (yes, that's really their name) is expected to cost about $100 million.
That's a big bet.
To spur sales, the Danish government is also offering a $40,000 tax break on each new electric car. That's another big bet.
If this roll of the dice succeeds, Denmark will have an e-car infrastructure in place that draws 20 percent of its power from wind energy. (The Danish wind farms just offshore from Copenhagen's airport are quite a sight.)
If this effort, and a similar initiative being pursued by Better Place in Israel, succeed, it could literally provide a roadmap for scaling up e-car infrastructures in places like Better Place's home state.
World leaders will soon be meeting in Copenhagen to mostly talk about climate change. Perhaps they should take time out from their speeches and backroom dealings to investigate real solutions to the world's energy problems like the Danish e-car initiative.