BMW, Vatenfall Plan Electric Car Network for Berlin

The companies want to have a realistic view of the technology's potential.

BMW and Swedish power group Vatenfall said last week that they will launch a pilot project next year to test the feasibility of electric cars in Berlin. BMW will provide 50 electric Mini models while Vatenfall Europe will establish a network of charging points throughout the German capital.

"We want to know how many typical clients use an electric vehicle daily," BMW chairman Norbert Reithofer said as the project was presented to the German environment ministry. "We want to have a realistic view of the technology's potential," he said.

In July, BMW said it would produce 500 electric versions of its Mini model, mainly for export to the U.S. where they were to be rented to the public.

Daimler said in early September that it was teaming up with power company RWE to develop a similar project in Berlin that would be based on electric Mercedes-Benz and Smart cars.

That network is to comprise 500 charging stations installed by RWE, the second biggest German electricity company.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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