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The Bay Area mayors who last week set out to make their region an electric vehicle capital have a new rival overseas. Ireland’s government today announced a goal to have 10 percent of all cars running on electricity by 2020. It plans to offer incentives, such as tax writeoffs for businesses’ electric-vehicle purchases, launch a $1.3 million research fund, and invest in infrastructure for the some 250,000 electric vehicles planned to hit Ireland’s roads over the next 12 years.
Ireland’s energy and transport ministers hope the move will spur an influx of international investment and free up capital currently spent on fossil fuel imports, helping revive the Celtic Tiger, which has recently burrowed deep into recession.
This could mean new opportunities for startups like Better Place, which has infrastructure development deals with Israel, Denmark and California (and says it’s in talks with 25 countries). Or Couloumb Technologies, which has teamed up with San Jose to deploy “smart charging” stations throughout the city. The Independent reported earlier this week — and Better Place confirmed with us today — that the company has already met with Ireland’s government and major utility. In a statement released today, Christian Engelfeldt, business development director for Better Place in the EU, said the company is “actively evaluating” the Irish market.