Le Figaro reports that Renaud Dutreil, the French minister for small business, said on Saturday that the world has entered the post-petrol era in which received ideas about how cars are powered must be rejected.

On the same day, the minister test drove Cleanova 3, the new, electric version of the Renault Scenic. The new model can travel at up to 130kmph and runs for 470km on 20 litres of fuel. It has been developed by Societe de Vehicules Electriques (SVE), a company set up by the French automotive development and production group Henri Heuliez and French industrial group Dassault.
Mr Dutreil would like to see electric cars used by French taxi drivers and public-sector workers, the report said. Similarly, the French post office, La Poste, believes that another electric model developed for Renault, the Kangoo Electrique, could meet 90 per cent of its demand when it calls for tenders to replace a third of its fleet in 2007.