Renault talking to Arabs, too, about electric cars

Renault-Nissan's plans to build electric cars is looking more serious by the day. Nissan has announced its intention to build an electric car for Japan and the U.S., and said so in its presentation to the California Air Resources Board last month. Earlier this year, Renault made news signing on to Shai Agassi's Project Better Place plan to produce electric cars for Israel and, more recently, Denmark. Now, according to a Thomson Financial News report in, Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said at a news conference in Portugal, 'We are negotiating to launch an electric car with a Gulf state.'
Israel's desire for electric cars is obvious. A small Middle East state with no oil reserves, it's demand for petroleum finances its enemies. A nation in the Gulf region, presumably with sizable oil deposits, would seem at first glance a less likely candidate to begin to shift toward electricity.

Lessons, perhaps, are being learned from countries as diverse as Norway and Brazil. Each has come to realize petroleum is more valuable as an export commodity than as a transportation fuel. Norway has 50 percent of Europe's oil reserves. Yet, electrics in the country are given incentives as it continues to export petroleum. The Nordic state is where Th!nk is headquartered. Brazil made investments decades ago to move automobiles off petroleum and on to locally-produced sugar cane ethanol. As petroleum has been found within its borders, rather than being burned locally it is shipped to world markets at ever climbing prices, helping mitigate the financial problems associated with petroleum imports plaguing many developing countries.


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