Better Place, Israel’s controversial electric car network provider, has had its share of issues and adverse publicity which began to heat up after its iconic founder and international CEO Shai Agassi was sacked this past October.
This act was later compounded when Australian Evan Thornley, who took over from Agassi, was also released from his position in January, 2013 following his pep talk to Israeli Better Place car owners. But all hope in the company is not lost: now consumers, and eco-tourists can try out the Better Place car in daily, weekly, monthly – even yearly rentals.
The rental company Eldan’s CEO Shai Dahan tells us that the rental cars can be available any day now, and that this offer is a world first: sure there are the mini Twizy’s for cruising around Paris, but there is no family electric car yet available for rent anywhere in the world.
Exposure to the Better Place electric car service network has not been as widespread in Israel as the company had hoped, due to delays in establishing the battery recharging posts and exchange stations. Some say that public confidence in buying electric cars is not yet established.
Once in operation, only the small number of actual car purchasers (around 700) have had an actual opportunity to personally experience how the system works. This situation may improve somewhat, now that one of Israel’s largest rental car and leasing companies Eldan is offering the Better Place’s Renault Fluence ZE electric model to both rental and leasing customers.
Eldan originally agreed to use some of Better Place’s cars in an agreement made back in December, 2011. But in reality the option for customers is only expected to start sometime this month.
Eldan has agreed to add a number of the Better Place Renault Fluence ZE cars to its rental and leasing fleets, with car weekly rental rates to be priced at the price of NS 250 per day ($67.50 USD) with an additional charge of NS 2 per km for each 100 km driven daily. While this price computes at about 25% more than comparable cars with gasoline engines, the electricity needed to fuel the cars is included as well as any battery switching needed and all logistics services as would be available for electric car owners.
A few cars will be added to the fleet, and more will be added depending on demand.
Long term leasing arrangements will also be available, depending on whether it is a company sponsored or private leasing arrangement.
As opposed to most standard rental car agreements, electric car renters will not have to return to cars to Eldan fully “juiced up” as is the case with a gasoline powered car.
Regarding how many people will avail themselves to these cars, only time will tell. Some will want to try them out from a curiosity standpoint; while others, especially tourists from North America and other similar locales, want to drive something that is more environmentally friendly.
Better Place is hoping that this option will expose more people to driving an all electric car; with some of them actually purchasing one later on. Dahan puts it this way: “As part of the global transition towards environmentally friendly cars, Eldan has decided to be an inseparable part of this trend. This applies to both sales of cars and also in the automobile leasing and renting field.”
More on Better Place:
Shai Agassi Fired from Better Place Electric Car Company
After Pep Talk to Better Place Car Buyers, New CEO Fired
Green Prophet Interviews Better Place Car Owners in Israel
Better Place – El Dan Partnership to Offer Electric Cars