Better Place electric taxi debuts in Tokyo. Is Tel Aviv next? Maurice volunteers himself to be the company’s test driver.
Israel’s debut with total electric powered cars is coming, and Shai Agassi’s Better Place electric car company is going to bring this reality in Israel sooner than many people may be prepared for, including having enough electricity mega watts to run them.
The technology being developed by Better Place is becoming so well known that international news media networks such as CNN , where Shai Agassi and his company were shown May 12 on a special program talking about his company’s technology.
Shai Agassi talks about his concepts
But despite all of this hoopla, which has including ordinary people like me taking test drives in converted Renault Fluence cars at the Better Place Electric Car Education Center in Tel Aviv; and with agreements already reached between Better Place and the Dor Alon Energy Company to have Better Place battery exchange stations located at selected gas stations, is Israel really ready for the electric car age?
It’s not just the issue of having enough electricity available to power them, even though additional power stations are now in the works – including a number of solar powered ones in the country’s Negev desert regions.
There are also issues involving infrastructure; especially in areas outside the major metropolitan areas of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa.
Any chance of recharging electric cars here?
And finally, are Israel’s 2 plus million driving population really ready, mind set wise, to make the switch to going “total electric” when driving to and from work and other destinations?
CNN also featured Better Place last Friday when both the company and Mr. Agassi were aired on an environmental news show on TV.
Besides noting the agreement that his company now has with the European car giant Renault –Nissan company, Agassi mentioned possible partnerships with automakers in China, including a company, Chery Automobile Company Ltd.
This possibility would not only result in the manufacture of less expensive electric powered cars, but could help solve the increasing pollution problems that major Chinese cities now have from large numbers of gasoline powered cars on the road. It could also alleviate stress on the electric grid there, as Green Prophet’s Jack pointed out this week.
The first stage of Better Place cars going “online” in Israel will involve selective numbers of fleet vehicles by both companies and municipalities that will use these cars in their lease fleets.
The cars will later be available to the general public by the end of 2011. One of the company’s major challenges involves creating a better battery than the present lithium ion one that is very expensive and will be “leased” to car owners.
The company is involved in developing a “smart battery” that can create its own electricity and even “feed” excess power back into the national electric grid it peak demand times. Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the success of these cars will be finding environmentally friendly solutions in the source of most electric power in Israel, which is presently from coal and oil fired powered plants.
Honda and I are still waiting to move up
As for myself, I have a Better Place Sticker in place on my aging Honda; and hope for the ability to one day move up to driving “total electric,” smart batteries and all.
In fact, I’m ready to be a “test driver” to promote the product.
Shai, are you listening?
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