FRANCE. In October 2012, the European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to give a €75m loan to the Bolloré Group for the development of electric vehicles. This sum completes the first tranche of €130m dedicated to the French company in January 2011 for the development of a new generation of Lithium-Metal-Polymer (LMP) batteries. These batteries can provide electric vehicles with more than 250km of road use.
The €75m will support the development and operation of a service for shared use of electric vehicles in the Ile de France region. Recharging stations linked to parking spaces will be located both on roads and in public car parks. Bolloré is also working on the "implementation of technology to support automatic subscription billing, recharging and control, to manage customers and the fleet in real time" says the manufacturer. As part of its Autolib project, the Bolloré Group already has 1,750 electric vehicles in circulation and 710 stations.
In January 2012, the EIB had already invested €180m in a Renault Electrification Technology R & D battery and motor project for electric vehicles. The French manufacturer is developing a new generation of lithium-ion batteries in France. This will improve the competitiveness of electric vehicles, which should in turn improve their market growth. This research programme also aims to reduce CO2 emissions and other harmful pollutants, with a potential reduction of over 150,000 tons of CO2 per year compared to vehicles with conventional engines.
Reduce fuel consumption
These programmes are based around the European initiative "an energy efficient Europe", devised by the Europe 2020 Strategy. They should ease the development of infrastructure required to support green vehicles as a whole, and electromobility in particular.
In 2011, the EIB financed French industrial innovation to the tune of €595m (€8.7bn at European level). In 2012, this trend is still continuing.
In June 2012, Volvo and the EIB agreed a loan of €240m for Volvo’s RDI (Research, Development and Innovation). The heavy vehicle manufacturer is trying to reduce fuel consumption in lorries, buses and heavy construction equipment, as well as their CO2 and NOx emissions. The project also aims to improve vehicle energy efficiency, noise reduction, provide better safety and optimise vehicle efficiency through the use of Intelligent Transport Systems. The research is largely being carried out in France and Sweden.