• Feb 7th 2008 at 6:09PM
  • 14
Piaggio, the scooter maker best known for making Vespa, will be the first to sell electric vehicles in Isreal, in just one month. According to Ha'aretz, the electric vehicles will be Piaggio's Porter brand, small multipurpose vans (MPV) which come in five types, including models with payload tippers. The vans have 12 or 14 horsepower engines, a top speed of 36 MPH and 155-mile range on a full charge, which takes about two hours from a normal home outlet. The van will cost 120,000 Israeli Shekels ($33,018 US dollars).

Why is Paggio doing this now? Israel recently instated a "green tax" on cars hoping to develop their electric car market. A Paggio company spokesman says they have won approval "in principle" for the tax breaks on the purchase price of cars. Project Better Place and Renault were the first companies to come out in support of Israel's push for electric cars but it's open to any green car maker. I fully expect many more automakers to sign up just like they did with Thailand's government program to make green cars.

[Source: Ha'aretz, Infolive.tv]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Israeli taxes on vehicles can be brutal, last I checked one hundred percent of the purchase price for passenger cars. Agassi (Project Better Place) got Peres (Israeli President) on board for a reason, and Peres delivered.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I would like to provide couple of useful info to readers about prices in Israel.

      1st of all - the 3 most popular cars here ( Toyota Corolla , Ford Focus and Mazda 3 ) cost about 114,000 NIS. Prius costs 151,000. So 120,000 for a pure electric car isn't so much.

      2. One liter of 95 petrol costs about 6 NIS . Diesel fuel - between 5.30 and 7.20 (but usually the cheap one isn't ULSD ). 1 KW of electricity costs about 0.5 NIS.

      3. For about 2,000 NIS you can install 3-phaze meter and you may use heavy electric applications. Also because one would charge the car at night - there are special rates. Here is a useful link in English :

      4. Although the car is NEV, but it can fit anyone in greater Tel-Aviv (Gush-Dan), where about a quarter of our population lives 1.5M.

      5. Electricity is generated primarily from coal but recently more and more stations use a natural gas. Also 2 IGCC power plants ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combined_cycle ) are built and 8 more planned.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Israel is almost the same size as Vancouver Island. These things could be pedal powered and still be useful to 90% of the population.
      • 8 Months Ago
      "almost totally dependant on American charity"!? ha? Let me bother with facts: Thw US financial support to Israel is 2.4 billion dollars a year, about 3% of the annual budget of the Israeli goverment .The money is actually credit that Israel can use to buy stuff in the US ,and supply work to thousands american workers.
      • 8 Months Ago
      the 33K better be wrong. I mean even with the weak dollar 10-15 grand tops i am sorry its just a NEV
      • 8 Months Ago
      Perfect vehicle for alot of urban areas overseas. When I was stationed in Italy a city vehicle just didn't need to accelerate fast, didn't need a high top speed, and the narrow track was a godsend in some of the back alleys and narrow residential streets. Because of the low speeds (not for interstate highway use) it is not going to suffer from crosswinds very much.

      I am glad somebody is ready to build the world some EVs. I'm ready to buy an EV (or plug in hybrid) when it is available b/c my commute is less than 15 miles and most of the speeds are less than 45 mph.

      As for the manliness or lack of manliness of this van - you'd be surprised at how much actually useful utility is found in one of these. Makes the monster vehicles we drive in the US look cartoonish when they aren't doing any more work than the little vans in some cases.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I find it interesting to note that "God's Chosen People" have NO oil and is almost totally dependant on American charity.

      If that's chosen, I'd rather be ignored.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I would NEVER, EVER pay $33K for THAT thing. 'Nuff said.
      • 8 Months Ago
      These things have never fallen on their sides (as the A-class mercedes did in its infamous "moose" tests and thus came up with a novelty at the time, called ESP). I'd rather buy three-quarters of a properly-engineered ZEV than a poorly engineered car that isn't even able to go under the 120 g target in the UK and Spain, despite its hefty pricetag.

      The Piaggios are used as delivery vans and there are versions used as tiny rubbish-collectors or vehicles used to wash the streets. Besides the emissions advantage, the use of such vehicles for these purposes means that they can be used silently (these tasks are usually carried out at odd hours) without disturbing the city-dwellers. Piaggio make these as do another company in Italy called Micro Vett:

      As to the project in Israel, I find this extremely interesting and positive. Switzerland has been promoting EVs for years in some cities, and the London Congestion Charge has also promoted these in London. But it's all rather on a small scale, and even the current petrol price doesn't seem sufficient to be shaking things either. The project in Israel seems to be on another level. Piaggio's arrival is certainly positive, but it's the Renault deal which may really get things rolling. Not only do Piaggio make fewer EVs than they could, even where they are strongest (motorcycles) they are outdone by tiny companies like Oxygen (battery-driven motorcycles with regenerative braking at a competitive price). There is a new Franco-Italian JV ZEV being built by Pininfarina and Bollore, but this too seems to be on a small scale. European mainstream manufacturers need conditions such as those now setup in Isreal to really get the ball rolling.....

      I really hope Peugeot-Citroen and Fiat also announce soon that they will join the EV project in Israel.
      • 8 Months Ago
      meme, The 33 K is probably misleading. I don't know the Israeli car market, but my guess is the new tax cut makes NEV, especially the ones just kept on farms, etc very reasonable. I would have guessed some of those would have not been taxed though. Also, I would assume they know about and are talking to Project Better Place. Piaggio came in very early and PBP is the face of the green tax right now. They are probably waiting to see how sales of Porter goes.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Tim, I'm not too happy with Israel's foreign policy either, or America's unconditional support, but that comment was uncalled for. Cleantech is cleantech, whatever country you're from.
      • 8 Months Ago
      1) It better use standardized replaceable batteries, since Israel is going to be the first state with the Project Better Place / Nissan-Renault contract for $200M worth of battery replacement centers spread across the country. They'd be seriously dropping the ball if they didn't.

      2) Who would drive a car that you could probably push onto its side with a good shove? Sure, you want to make a vehicle with a narrow wheelbase, fine. But at least don't make it tall at the same time! And flat sides sure aren't helping any (hello, wind...)

      3) 12-14HP, 36 mph top speed? For $33k? If their sales goal is two or three dozen per year, I think they might make it ;)
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