Shai Agassi likes what he's hearing from French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy recently announced a plan to expand sustainable transportation infrastructure in France, including more money for electric vehicles. The founder of Project Better Place - and someone with an apparent inability to find a media outlet he doesn't like - said that France's move accelerates "the inevitable electrification of the automobile" (see also: Johnson Controls).
In France, Project Better Place will work with Renault, EDF (yes, that EDF) to develop a "pan-European electric vehicle network," Agassi said in a statement (it's pasted after the jump). I tell ya, if anyone's going to get a standardized EV charging network in place, it looks like it'll be Agassi. We may have to wait until 2010 to see the first cars, but this guy is playing long term.

UPDATE: PBP has dropped the "project" from their name.

[Source: Project Better Place]

PRESS RELEASE:

France Moves One Step Closer to Mobility Operator Model

Statement by Shai Agassi, CEO and Founder, Better Place

Palo Alto, Calif. (Oct. 9, 2008) --- "France has been a leader in promoting sustainable mobility with its feebate policy. Today France extends its leadership in advancing the world's efforts to move off oil, with the announcement of President Nicolas Sarkozy's plan to invest in the development of a sustainable transportation infrastructure for the country.

"Better Place applauds and supports the efforts being made in France to extend the feebate policy to 2012, deploy zero emissions public car fleets, and improve battery technology. We accept President Sarkozy's challenge to develop the necessary infrastructure supporting standardized electric vehicles in France , and around the world. As Sarkozy stated today, "Freedom and mobility can meet ecology."

Following the lead of Israel and Denmark , France has taken an important step to accelerate the inevitable electrification of the automobile. Volatile oil prices and growing concern over climate change are increasing demand for gasoline alternatives. These factors are speeding the rise of the electric vehicle even faster than we predicted when Better Place launched last year.

"Israel adopted the Better Place sustainable mobility operator model in January 2008 to gain oil independence. In March, Denmark became the second market to adopt the Better Place model, underscoring the country's environmental leadership. With Better Place , both countries have made significant progress in advancing global standards to ensure wide-scale deployment of electric vehicles in 2011. The Better Place model scales for countrywide implementation of an open, standards-based network for electric vehicles powered by renewable energy.

"Better Place will closely review the latest developments in France and look to partner with Renault, EDF and others to develop a pan-European electric vehicle network. Better Place is continuing discussions with more than 25 countries, major auto manufacturers and potential partners around the world to ensure that all electric vehicle networks are open and built on industry-based standards."

About Better Place

Better Place is a venture-backed company that aims to reduce global dependency on oil through the creation of a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles, providing consumers with a cleaner, sustainable, personal transportation alternative. Launched in October 2007, Better Place will build its first Electric Recharge Grids in Israel and Denmark and plans to activate the infrastructure on a country-by-country basis with initial deployments beginning in 2010.

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