It’s not a Trekker that is commonly seen flying on the streets and sidewalks of cities like Tel Aviv. It’s also not a car, as is the Better Place Renault Fluence ZE that was test driven recently by Green Prophet on busy thoroughfares leading in and out of Tel Aviv. But at only NIS 9,000 or US$2,250, the Green Motors International Runner could be the answer for city dwellers who want a vehicle that is economical to run, easy to park, quiet and non-polluting.
For Israelis who want to feel patriotic and a “blue-white” product (one assembled in Israel), they will be happy to know that it is put together in the country’s only automobile assembly factory, Automotive Industries Ltd in Upper Nazareth. This company used to assemble Ford’s Escort models during the 1970’s, as well as several fiberglass body cars such as the icons Sussita and Sabra models, now worth more as collectors items than they often were when new.
The Runner electric scooter is the brainchild of two young Israeli entrepreneurs,who hope their fledgling company will provide a clean and economical transportation solution for city dwellers who live and work in a total commuting distance area that is no more than a total of 40 km per battery charge, the present range of this vehicle.
The two wheeler, recently test driven by a Haaretz news reporter, although not much to look at might actually carry two persons around town – if the one riding on the small rear jump seat is prepared to suffer a bit.
The Runner is assembled of parts made in both Russia and China. It also has a finish similar to something one might have seen coming from the Soviet Bloc back in the 1950’s or ’60s. The scooter is powered by a small 2 hp electric motor that uses a standard silicon-gel battery that can be recharged by plugging into an ordinary household current circuit. Despite the motor’s small size, it can still propel a rider along at speeds of up to 70 kph (40 mph) which is fine for getting around in inter city traffic.
Uri Duek, one of two company founders, says that their vehicle is “the poor man’s Better Place”. Trying to compare their Runner two wheeled scooter to the Renault Fluence electric cars that Shai Agassi’s Better Place “got wired” back in 2008 is a bit premature, however.
The Better Place company (which just set a world record for EV distance with Holden of Australia) has been developing an electric car network that allows car owners to exchange or switch the battery at special stations now being opened in various parts of Israel, as well as abroad.
For city dwellers who don’t mind a vehicle that won’t win any appearance contests and whose ride is a bit on the bumpy side, the Runner might well be the answer for one’s transportation needs. The Haaretz reporter did not give the scooter an enthusiastic review, however; and he even recommended that a prospective purchaser wait until more refined versions come out.
But as the old saying goes: beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
More articles on electric scooters and EVs:
Green Prophet Test Drives Better Place Electric Car
Trekker’s Electric Scooters Fly Around the Streets of Tel Aviv
Anywhere You Go Freego, Electric Scooters in Tel Aviv
A DIY Build Your Own Electric Car