The Italian region of Lombardy is to install 270 EV charging points in two major cities as it prepares to test some of the first EVs to arrive in the country.

The two cities of Milan and Brescia are to be the first in Italy to boast a complete, innovative charging structure for electric vehicles, allowing them to participate in the one-year trial of commercial and personal electric vehicles. The deal, signed Wednesday between French carmaker Renault and Italian utility firm A2A, will run for a year.

Sixty electric vehicles are to participate in the scheme, including the Renault Fluence Z.E. and the Renault Kangoo Z.E. Consumers will be able to rent the vehicles on a monthly basis at a rate comparable to a similar diesel model, say the firms.

"Through this pilot project, these cities will be in the forefront of trials, alongside the European capitals most focused on this issue," said Giuliano Zuccoli, Chairman of the Managing Board of A2A. "The aim is to develop a "point-to-point" network across the main cities of Lombardy as part of an approach to encourage sustainable development and limit pollutant emissions."

The new network will give the Lombardy region a good head start in the race to roll out EV infrastructure, beating London which currently has around 200 points (although the city has committed to installing 2,500 points by 2015). As a result of a collaboration between Daimler and German energy giant RWE, Berlin plans to roll out 500 EV charging points whilst Paris has around 200 points and plans a rapid expansion with the launch of its Autolib EV-rental scheme.

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