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Estonia: a paradise for electric cars?

Estonia has just opened a network of 165 quick-charging stations – more than the U.S. has today – for its plug-in electric cars, Voelcker writes.

A Fisker Karma electric car arrives at the start of an electric car rally from Tallinn to Monte-Carlo in Tallinn, Estonia. Estonia’s rate of one electric car out of every 1,000 vehicles in the country is second only to Norway’s.

Imagine a paradise for electric-car drivers, where half the car’s cost is subsidized and there’s a nationwide network of DC quick-charging stations so plentiful that there’s one for every four cars.

Such a place exists, actually. It’s called Estonia.

The tiny country of 1.2 million people, nestled on the Gulf of Finland between Latvia and Russia, has just opened a network of 165 CHAdeMO quick-charging stations–more than the U.S. has today–for its plug-in electric cars.

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Which number, at the moment, exactly 619–500 of which are used by government agencies, along with 100-plus that are privately operated.

That doesn’t sound like very many, but the country’s rate of one electric car out of every 1,000 vehiclesin the country is second only to Norway’s.

In that country, despite the harsh winter weather, there are four electric cars per 1,000 vehicles–the result of a concerted program of incentives and benefits.

The cost of fast-charging an electric car in Estonia is between 2.5 and 5 euros ($3.40 and $6.80), and drivers can pay either with an authorization card or by using their mobile phones.

There’s also an “all you can eat” program that allows unlimited fast-charging for 30 euros (roughly $40).


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