Thanks to a single, sweeping decree, Russia could soon become a much more hospitable place for electric cars.
The country is currently home to just a small number of electric cars, and its charging infrastructure is relatively undeveloped.
But the national government now requires that all gas stations in the country must be equipped for electric-car charging in little more than a year, by November 2016.
The order to provide charging stations on such a large scale was signed August 27 by Prime Minister Dimitry Medvedev, reports The Moscow Times.
Gas-station owners will be required to cover all costs of installing and operating charging stations, the paper says.
Estimated costs for a charging station in Russia range from 100,000 rubles ($1,480) for a Level 1 AC unit, to 3.5 million rubles ($51,720) for a DC fast-charging station, according to Maxim Osorin, head of electric-car seller and charging-network operator Revolta Motors.
The government decree did not specify what kind of charging stations owners will have to install, so it’s possible many will go for the cheapest option.
Officials hope a mandatory expansion of the charging network will increase electric-car sales.
Only about 500 electric cars have reportedly been sold in Russia since 2011, when the Mitsubishi i-MiEV first went on sale there.
The Mitsubishi was the first modern electric car to go on sale in Russia, and the Japanese firm is still the only foreign automaker officially selling electric cars in the country.
However, the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model S have appeared in small numbers, without any factory support.
Domestic manufacturer AutoVAZ also sells an electric car, the EL Lada.
This model went on sale in 2011, but only 49 have reportedly been sold so far, compared to 217 i-MiEV electric cars.
There are currently no government cash incentives or tax credits for new electric-car purchases, like the ones that have been adopted by the U.S. and other countries.
In the capital city of Moscow, the only perk electric-car drivers get is free parking.
There is also a network of 28 public charging stations, operated as a pilot program by Moscow United Electric Grid Company.
[hat tip: Jack Sapourn]
This story originally appeared on Green Car Reports. Copyright 2015
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