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Despite the charges being half as much as in the rest of the country, protestors in Brittany have managed to call a halt to the upcoming Ecotax electronic truck toll system.
Following violent clashes on Saturday, prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault announced this morning that the system had been ‘suspended indefinitely’.
Due to start in January, Ecotax filled in the gaps tolled network, applying to 15,000km of previously free motorways and main roads.
Brittany doesn’t have many railways hence the protestors argued that goods had no choice but to travel by road. The region’s agriculture industry has been hard hit in recent months with thousands of redundancies with many more jobs at risk with the higher transport costs.
The decision is a humiliating climb down for the government. Ecotax is the second new tax to be withdrawn this week and leaves a reported €800m gap in the country’s perilous finances.
Charging across borders.
Much has been made of the 360 degree web-based lifestyle package that comes with BMW’s new i3 electric car. Today in Copenhagen the company demonstrated the new eRoaming system. Users can pay for electricity charging points anywhere on the Continent from a single account – via the accompanying app – as long as the station is connected to the Hubject ‘interchange everywhere’ network. Just scan the QR code, plug in and that’s it. The app directs drivers to the nearest available charge point, and reserves it too. Hubject is a joint venture between BMW, Bosch, Daimler, Siemens and others. To coincide with the launch of the i3, by the end of this year the system will cover 50% of charge points in Germany with deals due in Belgium and Austria, on top of the already up and running Scandinavia. For more see www.intercharge.eu
roundup: NETHERLANDS. A 90 year old man survived four days stuck in a ditch near Hulst, Zeeland, in his disabled vehicle. RUSSIA. The former Zil factory on a bend of the Moscow River southeast of the city will be redeveloped as a residential area including the 1936 Zil Cultural Centre, the largest and last Constructivist Workers’ Club. Car making will continue on the site, albeit much reduced, likely to build Putin’s upcoming new limo. See this photo feature about the car plant – I.Likachev – as it is now. FRANCE/GREECE. Money is so tight the Police Nationale is worried about paying the rent and maintaining, fuelling and replacing its fleet of vehicles. Each unmarked radar car costs €70,000 apparently. But they have still managed to donate 10 cars to Greek colleagues. Despite being secondhand the cars are reportedly in ‘excellent condition’. Mmmn.