• May 11th 2008 at 4:39PM
  • 17
It could be the quickest vehicle to go from concept to a public, drivable prototype in automotive history. As previewed, "Israelis got a first demonstration Sunday of the electric car that developers hope will revolutionize transportation in the country and serve as a pilot for the rest of the world," began the report in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
A parking lot in Tel Aviv hosted the demonstration of the Project Better Place/Renault collaboration. Acceleration was said to be impressive and the silent drive familiar to proponents of electric vehicles was noted in the silver, normal looking sedan. The car is expected to have a range of 125 miles, more than sufficient for most drivers in a nation that's no more than 60 miles wide and 260 long. Haaretz reports that several hundred cars will begin appearing on Israel roads in 2009, with sales to begin in late 2010.


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I find this a very interesting business model along the lines of how cell phones are sold today. It's being pioneered in Israel which is also interesting since I am sure they would love to be free from Arab oil. And they understand the market will require a dedicated "infrastructure" to succeed.

      I believe that the U.S. Government should be looking at similar models here, and would hope to see one of the three stooges currently campaigning to be President start talking about Energy solutions instead of vague promises like "windfall profit taxes".
      • 7 Years Ago
      Joseph: I don't know if they are using the AC Propulsion controller and motor, but it is possible. AC Propulsion has a very good unit, with built-in battery charger, and they have been used for numerous prototypes.

      Lad: one disadvantage of using a smaller shorter range battery pack is that it also has less power. A batery pack that is too small would mean anemic performance. That said, the 40 mile range pack planned for the GM Volt appears to have enough power for reasonably good performance. A modular approach would make it easy to get various size batteries for different purposes.

      Reuven Amir: Electrical energy to recharge the batteries could come from any electric power source, be it fueled by coal, natural gas, falling water, splitting atoms, wood, wind, or the sun. The batteries do not know or care what is providing the power, so why exclude wind and solar? Oil is rarely used for power generation, mostly petrol or diesel for emergency backup generators and portable generators, so switching to electric cars will dramatically reduce petroleum consumption.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is this a Logan that has been converted to an EV, or a purpose built EV?
      • 7 Years Ago
      To Ping:

      Define "cheap". The Project Better Place business model is to lease the car, batteries and provide the electricity for a set number of miles, much like cellphone contracts.

      An excerpt from a PBP forum (Deutsche Bank analysis):

      We finally found out the bottom line of the PBP business model.

      According to three DB experts, a $550 a month fee for 18000 miles traveled makes the PBP's business model a viable one. This means $0.35/mile.

      Included in this fee is the cost of the car (a free car will be delivered by PBP), battery leasing and the cost of electricity.

      Fuel is much more expensive in Israel and the European nations, so this may be a heck of a deal for them, environmental benefits aside.

      • 7 Years Ago
      On numerous occasions Shay Agassi has hinted (and misled the innocent,including President Peres)that his cars will free us from imported oil. Nothing is farther from the plain truth. Where would the electrical energy to charge the batteries come from? If anybody cares to answer this question, please do not refer to wind and sun; energy from these sources has nothing to do with Shay's cars.
        • 6 Years Ago
        A big part of the better place plan is to also partner with utilities to build clean power sources. As is the case in Canada ;-), Israel has lots of sun, therefore solar based energy makes lots of sense. While people are working, their batteries can be charged. Here in Canada where we generally have excess power at night, we can charge at night. The beauty is that we tend to have 2 long non-driving periods for our cars, work and night.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Lad - I think that point you make (about carrying no more battery weight than needed) is an excellent one.

      I imagine that one of the advantages of this particular project is that, when calling at the network of battery-swap stations, drivers will be able to load whatever pack size is needed for the intended journey - and will be able to lease smaller packs when ony intending to drive locally.
      • 7 Years Ago
      If I get to drive on the cheap, I dont care if it looks like the Aztek
      • 7 Years Ago
      A couple of things:
      One disadvantage of PHEVs is the extra weight of the ICE engine and it's associated components. The ideal BEV would be a car that carries just the amount of batteries to complete the transportation task plus a prudent surplus. Otherwise, you are transporting the additional weight of batteries you don't use. For example, if you commute 40 miles a day, you could reduce the Project Better Place battery weight by at least half.

      Also because of the BEV's shortened range, we in the U.S. may need to rethink the family vacation lifestyle and plan to rent a car with a longer range for vacations. Or use another form of transportation other than a car for vacations. Wouldn't it be great if we had low-cost high-speed rail service that would transport the family car along with the family to distance vacation locations. Then you could simply drive your BEV and family off the train at or near your vacation destination. But alas! I dream!

        • 6 Years Ago
        As a child we used to put the car on the train (in Cambridge) and go down to Cornwall and pick up the car for the holiday! Thems were the days!
      • 7 Years Ago
      will it look good??
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd like to ask some advice. I live in Israel and definitely want to have an EV someday. Until recently I had a decent ICE vehicle, but it was in an accident and was totaled. My insurance payback plus savings will allow me to buy a new car, but what to do? If I buy a new car now (normally my first choice), will it even be re-salable when the electric cars start hitting the road here? Who would want to buy it? But I'm leery of buying a used car - too many problems. Plus, as a new immigrant, I get a tax break if I buy a new car (but can't resell it for 5 years). How seriously should I take Shai Agassai's claim to have those EV's on the road by 2010?

      Thanks for your input, readers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Reuven Amir: The BetterPlace project just got expanded to Denmark (Scandinavia). I think Denmark are the ideal country for implementing the concept-infrastructure for a lot of reasons.

      First of all Denmark already has a very efficient and advanced infrastructure in wind-technology which is to be the primary energy-source for charging the batteries. Windpower is actually already capable of meeting the market concerning energy-price (Today aprox. 18% of all energy consumption comes from windpower).

      But there are problems in the market. One of them is that there is too much power being produced relative to the demand at night time (because people do not use energy during the night). This "extra" energy from the windpowered generators should be used to charge the batteries for cars. By doing this the energy-system will be more efficient making prices lower.

      Second, Denmark has no manufacturing of cars, hence there is no conflict concerning the general Industrial special-interests. Actually a lot of jobs are being created concerning the new market. And even though the government loses income related to environmental taxes, they will gain these in other areas (less pollution in cities, less trafic noise, less expenses in healthcare etc.)

      Third, there is a tradition in Denmark to support greentech such as windpower, watersystems and solar-power. So the politicians are expected to "bet on green"!..

      Furthermore -like Israel- Denmark is an small country which makes the transition much easier.

      BUT there are some serious challenges in the future. The most serious question is "What do you do if you want to drive outside of Denmark?" If you want to drive to Spain for instance, what do you do if your battery runs out and there is no charging available for miles? Will people still buy the cars if they are forced to bring a spare-battery (or seven) in the trunk?

      This is a fundamental challenge and it will take a lot of effort to solve. Probably the infrastructure needs to be in every country. Providing this must be A major challenge for the Politicians in the EU.

      There are of cause less challenges concerning the future market. How to secure competition? Which technical-standards to be used (they have to be the same in every country of cause - or at least be compatible to all cars)...
      And of cause there are a lot of other ones.... The important thing is not to give up or let special interest dictate the agenda (as with the EV in USA: refererence to the "death" of the Electrical vehicle in the US). I believe we owe it to our selve to make the moral choices and this time it actually seem possible to satisfy both Industry and consumers. This time I dont think it will be a "trend". I actually think this project will meet the demand and gain the support of the broad populations across the EU. We have so much to gain from this. We have the obigation to take advantage of these possibilities...

      Thanks for the attention
      Kind regards
      Daniel B, Denmark
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone else feel that Israel and Renalt/Nissan may actually be able to pull this off with the government support? For obvious economic-political reasons, wouldn't that be a coup?

      I hope they tell OPEC to shove off.
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