The world's politicians are currently huddled in Paris arguing over how much effort they're prepared to make to stop the seas from boiling. As such, France has decided to throw down a well-tailored gauntlet to its partners by announcing a competition to build an electric car that costs under $7,000. The country's ecology minister, Ségoléne Royal (pictured), revealed that she'll launch a project that'll encourage private companies to build an environmentally-friendly ride for the population. How will they be able to keep the costs that low, you ask? By ditching the built-in battery in favor of a country-wide network of stations that'll let people swap cells during their journeys.
Batteries are the most expensive component of an electric car, which is why many companies offer leasing deals instead. That way, instead of adding another $10,000-plus to the sticker price, that cost can be spread out over many years by paying a monthly charge of, say, $100 a month. In the UK, the Renault Zoe will set you back £70 ($104) a month, with that cost going up if you want to drive further than 7,500 miles in a year.
There may be a few problems with the $7,000 electric car that go beyond ensuring the technology is there, like encouraging customers to actually buy the things. After all, the REVAi / G.Wiz, an Indian all-electric ride that gained popularity in London a few years back, had a starting price of $9,995 ($15,000), twice the price of France's theoretical whip. Unfortunately, the G.Wiz and its kin are no Tesla Model S, looking like a go-kart with a roof and wholly unsuited to anything but short city commutes. So, uh, good luck?