Renault and PSA Peugeot Citroën have both separately announced agreements with French group EDF to develop electric car projects. The French government owns 85% of the energy supplier.

The project will include development and marketing of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.In a statement PSA said the agreement covers several technological programmes, including:

  • The definition of business models capable of driving the commercial development of electric vehicles.
  • New energy storage technologies, such as lithium-ion batteries.
  • Vehicle recharging systems and protocols to enable vehicles and the network to communicate during recharging, as well as the standardisation of these systems and protocols.

Last June, PSA said it would work with Mitsubishi on electric powertrains.

The Renault agreement with EDF is focused on developing the infrastructure needed to recharge electric vehicles, supporting the automaker's plans to launch an electric vehicle in 2011. The two companies are planning to develop a commercial project that will be open to other companies.

EDF is already working with Toyota to develop a 'smart' charging terminal which currently is being tested here in the UK.

The news came as the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, announced the French government would seek changes to EU state aid rules to allow it to fund research and development into low carbon cars to the tune of EUR400m.