Renault pulls the plug on Israeli electric cars

better place electric car switch battery
The idea was a show-stopper when it was announced: Israel will produce an electric car with a switchable battery. This would reduce range anxiety so more people can buy into buying electric cars. People would pay for the service like you buy minutes for your mobile phone. But the dream has ended as Renault shutters its Turkish factory.

According to the Globes business paper in Israel, Better Place’s production partner Renault SA has stopped producing electric cars at its Turkish factory. Renault is expected to have lost hundreds of millions of dollars in setting up and production fees for the cars it has already produced for the now defunct Better Place company envisioned by Shay Agassi (fired by Better Place board late 2012).

Renault also produced a version of the Renault SA Fluence that had a permanent rechargeable battery.

Better Place went bankrupt this past May, while Renault continued producing its rechargeable battery version of the car. Low sales have caused it to close down production of even the rechargeable version of the battery.

The Turkish line would have been able to produce tens of thousands of electric cars every year.

Meanwhile, locally, Renault importer Carasso Motors Ltd. confirms that Renault will continue supporting Fluence ZE cars already sold in Israel. The car will be a collector’s item no doubt in only a few years since only about one thousand of them were sold in Israel up until now.

2 thoughts on “Renault pulls the plug on Israeli electric cars

  1. Pingback: Learning from Failures – Better Place | Startup Iceland

  2. Maurice

    Really really sad. I was impressed with the car when I test drove it a while back; and still see them on the roads from time to time. I just hope that those who have them are able to receive adequate services, includng recharging the batteries as well as actual battery swaps.

    Israel could have become a leader in electric car technoloigy; and their use by consumers. The entire marketing and service concept just wasn’t dealt with properly.

    Whether other brands of electric cars are sold here is anybody’s guess. Renault’s experience with them has probably soured them on the idea of selling either their new Zoe model or the Nissan Leaf in Israel. This goes for the importer, Carasso Motors Ltd, as well.

    Reply

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