A landmark was recently passed on Israel's road to reduced dependance on foreign oil when Renault and Project Better Place held a demonstration of an electric car that will hit Israeli streets next year. For those unacquainted with Project Better Place, the Silicon Valley start-up headed by tech guru Shai Agassi has teamed up with Renault-Nissan to build and deploy fully electric Meganes in the seaside Middle Eastern country. The batteries that will power the vehicles are built by a joint-venture between Nissan and NEC, have a 125-mile range and will be supported by half a million charging stations and hundreds of battery-swap stations. Those specs should be enough to satisfy drivers in a country barely 60 miles between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and 260 miles from the Red Sea to its border with Lebanon. An initial launch fleet is scheduled to hit roads next year before sales begin in late 2010. The hope is that Israel will prove a suitable test case before the project can be launched in other countries.
Norway Denmark has already signed on, but suitability for bigger countries (like the United States, where long commutes are commonplace) will largely depend on advances in battery technology.