France and Taiwan – two countries not known for close association thanks to physical distance – are joining forces to further the development of battery-electric vehicles, with a goal of making EVs go mainstream in both countries, Focus Taiwan reported last week.
Taiwan's Automotive Research & Testing Center (ARTC), which receives some government funding, reached a memorandum of understanding with France's privately-owned Union Technique de l'Automobile du Motocycle et du Cycle (UTAC) to work with both countries' industries on speeding up EV technology.
France's place in worldwide EV development is largely defined by Renault, which, along with sister company Nissan, is said to have invested more than $5 billion in the development of EVs under both nameplates. Renault went as far as firing three senior executives last year for allegedly giving trade secrets involving EVs to what may have been a China-based company before the event was later discovered to be a hoax.
Meanwhile, Taiwan is regarded as a relatively advanced country when it comes to battery manufacturing and power control systems.
And maybe it's just electric cars that bring countries together and an Asia-Europe electric-vehicle development combination isn't completely unheard of. In addition to the Renault-Nissan alliance, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and China-based BYD formed a joint-venture in 2010 to develop a new EV brand. Daimler and BYD recently revealed the brand name as Denza and will start production next year.