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Russia Turns from Red to Green by Vowing to Install EV Chargers in Every Gas Station by 2016

Just when you thought you figured the Russians out, they go and give a law such as this one, requiring gas station owners to install EV chargers by November next year.
smart Electric Drive 1 photo
This sounds odd, right? You wouldn't expect the Russians to care that much about electric cars, and especially not the government which has a lot more important issues on its mind right now.

And, frankly, they don't. According to Autostat data cited by The Moscow Times, there are no more than 500 electric vehicles roaming the streets of Russia at the moment, a number ridiculously low considering the country's total population (144 million).

But you have to give credit to the Russian government who's actually doing things the right way. You have to offer people the infrastructure first, and then expect them to buy the actual cars. Since like in most Eastern European countries' case, most Russians still live in apartment blocks, they don't have the option of charging the car at home. This would partly explain the Russians reticence towards EVs, together with their higher prices and the cold climate in much of the country.

As always when we're talking Russia, there's a catch. While Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev might be full of good intentions, his decision could hit the proverbial brick wall. And we all know how strong Russian brick walls are.

The rule instructs (ahem, commands) gas station owners to have an EV charging station, but makes no reference to its type, so it's fair to assume that left unspecified, everybody will go for the cheapest option. That would result in unreliable charging points that also take forever to fully juice up a car.

More than that, having just one charger per gas station might be OK now when there are only 500 EVs in the country, but should the number increase, they will soon become insufficient. And since they don't really bring any real profit to the gas station owner, unless a new law is passed, it's unlikely the number of charging points will ever be increased.

But let's not think we know everything about how things go in Russia and wait for the story to unfold. With less than 50 EVs sold in the first six months of this year, Russia desperately needs a boost in this direction. Will this be it? Or will more Tesla drag racing videos do the trick?

 
 
 
 
 

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