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betterplace.JPGSmall countries really do make for faster drives, it seems — especially when it comes to the drive to adopt electric cars. Project Better Place has struck a deal in another tiny-but-rich country, Denmark, only two months after it announced a collaborative effort with two large car companies to install a network of charging stations for electric cars in Israel.

Project Better Place, if you’ll recall, is the company started by former SAP heir-apparent Shai Agassi and funded with a giant $200 million round. The company’s aim is to spread the adoption of electric cars by building the infrastructure — in this case, refueling stops analogous to gas stations — necessary to support them.

In Denmark, Better Place’s partner will be Dong Energy AS, a local utility. The plan is to build charging stations that pull surplus energy from Denmark’s wind power installations. Those installations supply about 20 percent of the country’s energy, more than any other place in the world.

That should provide a more significant environmental benefit than Israel’s system, powered by the coal plants that provide the majority of that nation’s power. The same Nissand and Renault partnership will provide electric cars to both countries.

If Better Place and its host countries are successful, it may mark the definitive eclipse of the United States as a leader in electric vehicle technology — even though the company itself is based in California. But companies like Tesla Motors aside, if the biggest markets for electric cars are in countries thousands of miles away, how will we be able to do anything but follow in their footsteps?

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