Nothing focuses the official mind on electric vehicles quite like a thick blanket of nasty grey smog. It’s no coincidence that the two places on Earth with the most aggressive pro-EV policies – California and China – are places with serious air pollution problems.
Does this mean that the City of Lights will be the next plug-in paradise? This week, Paris found it necessary to institute alternate driving days for the first time since 1997, in response to record-high levels of particulate matter, a particularly pernicious form of air pollution that’s attributable to vehicle emissions.
On Monday, vehicles with even-numbered plates were banned from entering the city center from 5:30 am until midnight, and public transport, as well as the Autolib car-sharing service, was free (these measures will end if and when pollution levels drop).
Several classes of so-called “virtuous” vehicles, including hybrids and plug-ins, are exempt from the ban.