Electric cars are a hot topic in Denmark these days. In March, Shai Agassi's Project Better Place announced that its nationwide electric car scheme is to roll out in Denmark in collaboration with leading integrated energy company DONG Energy. Then in April came the announcement that Swedish energy giant Vattenfall, together with auto makers Saab and Volvo, also have designs on Denmark (or more strictly Copenhagen) with their plug-in electric hybrid cars.
And now comes news that the French microcar manufacturer Aixam plans to introduce its 4-seater Mega City electric car into Danish showrooms in a few months' time, writes profession journal Ingeniøren (The Engineer).
Neither the technology nor the performance of the Mega City can be described as breathtaking. No cutting edge lithium ion battery science in this vehicle - the power plant reportedly consists of 8 conventional lead-acid batteries which take eight hours to charge, the range is a modest 80 km (50 miles), and the top speed is even less remarkable at 65 kph (40 mph).
Short on thrills it may be, but introducing the Mega City in Denmark could still prove a shrewd move for Aixam. For as mentioned, electric cars are now a serious talking point in Denmark, as concerns rise about the mounting price of petrol and diesel at the pump. Then there's the tax factor. Electric cars are currently tax-exempted in Denmark, and in its new energy policy the government has extended this exemption to 2012. Then there's the renewable energy factor. Denmark leads Europe in the proportion of its electricity produced from renewables and wind energy is often in surplus at night when electric cars are charged, which adds up to the promise of power which is both cheaper and greener.
But perhaps the most telling factor for the Mega City is its timing. Project Better Place's Renault-Nissan produced electric cars are not on the market yet in Denmark. Nor is Saab or Volvo with their hybrids. But very soon Aixam will be, and the Mega City will have a market of rapidly increasing consumer interest essentially to itself. For a while at least.