In 2009 the French government dedicated €120 million for research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) projects on low-carbon vehicles and charging infrastructure over 2008–2012. There is a long-term vision for the electrification of transportation supported by the French clean energy supply that can satisfy more than 80% of electricity needs through nuclear generation.
The emphasis is on State programs that foster research and development (R&D) in the EV sector. Certain counties where the State has funded infrastructure for EV charging are showcased by the government. The Renault-Nissan Alliance and the utility Electricite de France (EDF) are currently field-testing 100 battery-powered vehicles and related infrastructure.
There are also broader R&D programs specifically for lithium-based battery technology. France’s lithium-ion patent landscape is led by Saft. Automotive manufacturers, such as Renault, are involved in several partnerships with other battery makers and are in the process of developing new technology.
French companies and research institutions have 273 patents in lithium-ion batteries. While 42 patents are assigned to Saft, 40% of the French patents in this space are assigned to research institutions (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique has 49 patents; Commissariat à l'Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives has 22; Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales has 15). Alcatel-Lucent, a leader in fixed, mobile, and converged broadband networking, is also a significant patent holder with a total of 42 patents assigned.
ADEME (the French Environment and Energy Management Agency) received funding in 2008 under the French Grenelle Environmental Forum. This funding exhibits the abilities of French companies and State laboratories to produce automotive technology that contributes to the goal of CO2 emission reduction in response to climate change issues. In 2010 the program Investissements d’Avenir (“Investments for the Future”) was created under the National Loan plan. This research is designed to go beyond demonstration by providing companies with the support they need to pilot new technology into the experimental phase and validate it prior to commercialization.
ADEME has been selected for several projects under the “Investments for the Future” program. Projects aimed at developing future vehicles include €1 billion for research into road, rail, and marine vehicles. ADEME will also study carbon-free energy sources, the “circular economy” of commercialized waste sorting and recovery, and smart grid. The substantial funding levels for RD&D will be applied to convert results from the research demonstrator fund into projects and products that will promote green, sustainable growth in France and abroad.