An Electric Commitment?

In Monaco, steep hills and v-12 engines combine to create what is surely among the least fuel-efficeint enclaves in the world. Prince Albert II isn't especially happy about this, and he's been trying very hard to convince people to buy electric. Above, a sign in a parking garage pointing toward a bank of handicapped-accessible, electric car charging stations.
In addition to spearheading a non-gasoline partnership with Nice, showcasing a electric-motor driven Formula 1 car, hosting the Electric Vehicle Symposium, starting the EVER renewable resources car show (where the Nissan Leaf debuted last year) and organizing an electric-vehicle race from Tallinn, Estonia, to Monte Carlo, the prince actually drives an electric car. He also had a special edition electric Lexus made for his wedding. The sense of goodwill towards their products so impressed Tesla that the company opened its first European storefront here on a prime stretch of avenue.
The dealership isn't just for show. Tesla is hoping to actually sell some cars. Albert has been instrumental in getting Monaco to pass some radical initiatives - a thirty percent subsidy on purchases of new electric vehicles, no vehicle tax on the EV cars, and free recharging at over five hundred specially reserved parking spaces. Sadly, the number of electric cars in the country has stalled somewhat, at just over two hundred - the free parking spaces are mostly unfilled.
We were talking about the electric cars one afternoon when we came across this photoshoot on a portside quay. This is the problem, we thought. It's tough to embrace electric cars when there's such a culture of horsepower-worship and so much money to spend on it. In the end, this is a city that seems most impressed by the rumble of huge, conventional engines. Tourists love prowling around the casino, leering at the ultra-exotics and hulking luxury vehicles. There are so many Ferraris and Lamborghinis, Bentleys and Aston Martins that they actually blend together and seem normal. Electric vehicles aren't part of that world of lust and allure - this is a city after all, and nobody actually drives their fast cars fast. The owners just want to show them off.
Still, it's interesting to see silent scooters go whipping by and electric municipal vans whine up the inclines. Also, the country just passed a law that would allow the Prince to close certain roads to gas-powered vehicles.
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1 comment for "An Electric Commitment?"

  1. The scooter is geared for a top speed of about 25 mph, has around 3 horsepower, and can go 8-12 miles per charge. this website

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