Haaretz writer Dan Rabinowitz claims that the Better Place pricing structure for its electric vehicles in Israel shows nothing but contempt for the consumer. Not only does he believe the vehicles will be less eco-friendly and cost effective as marketing schemes have depicted them, but he also claims that the vehicles are just a foil for a better financial incentive: a monopoly on the country’s future charging stations.
Rabinowitz lists a string of claims made by Better Place and then proceeds to demonstrate how those claims are actually well-disguised tricks or “gimmicks.”
- The cars won’t really reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Israel (giving, I’m guessing, how long it will be before electricity is derived from renewable energy sources.)
- Now that the full pricing and technical plan has been made public, there appear to be holes that will end up costing the Israeli consumer.
- The vehicles will cost just over $36,000 – more than their non-electric equivalent, the Renault Fluence. This pricing was set up when a 70% tax was expected, but now Better Place will only pay a 10% tax. That big break goes straight to the company, not the consumer.
- Better Place will require consumers to buy a minimum package that gives them just under 12,500 miles a year with $3,806 worth of charge (which is less than the average Israeli pays for gasoline). The problem is, the average Israeli drives much less than 12,500 miles a year and is unlikely to receive a refund on unused kilowatts or miles.
- Better Place announced it would purchase2,600 kiowatt-hours of electricity from the Israel Electric Corporation in order to power one car for 20,000 kilometers. That amounts to $380, at least ten times less than the consumer will be charged.
“What is this, cottage cheese?” he asks, referring to the soaring price of what is basically a feature in most Israeli refrigerators.
There’s more. Rabinowitz’s most scathing accusation may be that the EVs are just a sideshow for what has become one of the most powerful companies in the world.
The contempt Better Place is demonstrating for the Israeli consumer will presumably greatly reduce the number of electric cars sold here, but it’s not clear the company cares. Indeed, it’s not inconceivable that the electric car is just a gimmick. The big money for Better Place lies in the monopoly it received from the state on building and operating charging stations.
Pie in the sky environmental protection be darned! Rabinowitz presents a compelling case that Better Place EV comprises nothing more than corporate business as usual.
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