Eckart Würzner, a mayor on a mission to make his city emission-free, is not terribly impressed by promises from General Motors, Ford and other big automakers to swear off fossil fuels. Not that Würzner, the mayor of Heidelberg , is against electric cars . The postcard-perfect city, in southern Germany, gives residents who buy a battery-powered vehicle a bonus of up to 1,000 euros, or $1,200. They get another 1,000 euros if they install a charging station. But electric cars are low on the list of tools that Würzner is using to try to cut Heidelberg's impact on the climate, an effort that has given the city, home to Germany's oldest university and an 800-year-old castle ruin, a reputation as a pioneer in environmentally conscious urban planning. Würzner's goal is to reduce dependence on cars, no matter where they get their juice. Heidelberg is buying a fleet of hydrogen-powered buses, building a network of bicycle "superhighways" to the suburbs and designing neighborhoods to discourage all vehicles and encourage walking. Residents who give up their cars get to ride public transportation free for a year. "If you need a car, use car-sharing," Würzner said in an interview at Heidelberg's Baroque-style City… Read full this story
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