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Israel Prime Minister Says Developing Electric Vehicles is “National Project”; Seeking Partnership with Japanese

Nikkei. On a visit to Japan, Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the country intends to make the development of electric vehicles a national project and will seek to partner with Japanese companies.

Israel will build infrastructure by setting up 500,000 recharging devices in parking lots across the country. It will raise the tax for gasoline-powered vehicles to 72% while holding down the rate for electric vehicles to 10% to spur purchases of the eco-friendly cars.

In January, The Renault-Nissan Alliance and Project Better Place signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to catalyze the mass-market deployment of electric vehicles in Israel. The solution framework comes in response to the Israeli State’s challenge to the auto industry and its supply chain to migrate the country’s transportation infrastructure to renewable sources of energy. As part of the solution framework, the Israeli government will provide tax incentives to customers, Renault will supply the electric vehicles, and Project Better Place will construct and operate an Electric Recharge Grid across the entire country. Electric vehicles will be available for customers in 2011. (Earlier post.)

Olmert visited a Nissan factory in Kanagawa Prefecture Thursday, accompanied by Shai Agassi, president of California-based start-up Project Better Place...Noting that the electric-vehicle business will become commercially viable in Israel in 2011, Agassi said he came to Japan seeking partners.

Comments

Henrik

500.000 recharging stations in a small country like Israel with 6.4 million inhabitants is a lot. It will still take about 10 minutes to charge the battery to 60% or so using a LiFePO4 battery. That time needs to be spent well or people will not use it. I suggest adding a mailbox for snail mail, a wifi-network to enable e-mail checking and other web based activities, add a beverage automat and a newspaper automat. It may actually work but battery swapping is too costly. It will break down constantly and be a nuisance and maintenance cost and inconvenience from repairs will kill it off. I will almost say forget about it and don’t even spend time and money investigating it. Also if it is easy to swap the expensive battery it will be a perfect target for thieves. This is how it is in the real world and that is the one we live in.

sola

I don't think battery swapping will break down easily. It will very likely robotized and electric. Electric motors are pretty reliable and swapping/charging places will be in groups so if one breaks down there will be an other dock you can use.

Henrik

Sola robotic swapping stations costs orders of magnitudes more than a simply high power cord on a credit card automat. Who will pay for that? The electricity the customers of cause. These swapping stations will need to be unmanned to cut cost. That will make them a target for thieves that will steal the batteries. That cost need to be added. Furthermore, kids will have fun sabotaging the machinery with a wood stick or some stones and enjoying the outrage of the next customer getting stuck with his car. Once again the electricity customers will pay. This is how it will be. The swapping part of the project simply won’t work.

I also believe 500.000 non-robotic fast charging stations are far too much and too expensive. People will predominantly “slow charge” using ordinary electric outlets at home or at parking places at work and outside shops and restaurants. Free charging will probably turn out to be a successful attraction feature for workplaces and shops. But forget about complex systems for simple problems. It never works.

Adam

And how much time does liquid fuel refueling take? I usually have to add 10 minutes to my travel time estimate when filling up with gasoline. And when stopping on a long trip (the only relevant comparison, as home charging will take care of 90% of day-to-day commuting), I combine it with getting a snack. The difference is truly insignificant.

sjc

This is a pretty bold step on the part of Israel. There must be a real need for them to do this, beyond the environment and foreign relations. The obvious need is to get rid of imported oil ASAP.

Mikael Johansson

I think most of those 500.000 "recharging stations" will be ordinary outlets. Considering in time there will be hundreds of thousands of EV:s in Israel, ten or twenty automatic battery swapping stations could be a cost effiecient way to handle these battery update operations.

drivin98

The Japanese already have their own public charging systems. What do they need Israel for?

Patrick

They need Israel for a customer...

Roger Pham

Instead of battery swapping, why not swap the whole car? Would be a lot easier!
Each EV with 100-mi range is more than enough for daily driving. For longer trips, park your EV at a local supermarket to swap for a rental gasoline car using automated credit card machine. When the trip is completed, return the gasoline car to the same place and pick up your EV to drive home.

Each EV owner only has to own a two-seat to four-seat light-weight and low-cost EV for daily commute. Keep the car size and the battery size down to a minimum to save on acquisition and operating cost. For other purposes, he may join a car joint-ownership club, wherein he may pick up any kind of vehicles, ranging from SUV's, vans, pickup, sport cars, etc. depending on his occasional need at the time.

sjc

The zip car idea has merit. I have thought that if I had a good EV, I could always rent a gasoline car on the weekends for a trip when rates are low anyway.

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