Brian Writes For PJ Media » Is Israel Making the Electric Car Work?

Don’t worry, I’ll still remain here at Israellycool, even though I’ve now been published in a high f’lutin’ site like PJ Media. I was writing about the Better Place electric car that I’ve written about a couple of times here at Israellycool, here and here.

On a winter day of pounding rain, quite uncharacteristic for Israel, a convoy of 80 completely electric, battery-powered cars drove from Rosh Ha’ayin on Israel’s eastern border through Tel Aviv. On the outside, the autos are perfectly normal Renault sedans built in Turkey. Yet they don’t require a drop of gasoline pumped by countries that hate the Jewish state.

The cars run on an air-cooled 230 kilogram (500 pound) lithium ion battery, an electric motor, and a sophisticated electronic control system. Where Israeli ingenuity comes in: these “Better Place” cars differ from electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf — a depleted battery can be swapped for a full one in about four minutes. The Renault ZE is also larger than the Nissan or the Chevy, sized more like a Honda Accord — a real, practical family car.

Personally, I reject the anthropogenic global warming theory. Nevertheless, I’m interested in driving an electric car for two reasons. First: Western dependence on largely Middle East-produced oil is insecure in strategic terms, and helps fuel the forces of jihad and radicalism. Second: if a truly free market can produce a more inexpensive, efficient alternative to petroleum-run transport that benefits the consumer, it makes sense to use it. The price of gasoline is steadily rising, and recall that it is far more expensive in Europe and Israel than in North America.

Last week, I test drove one of these electric cars, convinced that it would have all the driver appeal of a trip across Los Angeles during rush hour. It came as a complete revelation to me when the Renault Better Place accelerated like a rocket and kept going. I was so impressed that I followed up my brief drive at Better Place’s demonstration site in Tel Aviv with a much longer test drive on Israeli roads. I’ve driven the gasoline version of the Renault — it is underpowered and doesn’t handle well. This electric version is much quicker, as silent as a Mercedes, and super-smooth, especially since there are no gear changes. It feels like a 2.5 liter V6 engine in a car often sold with a 1.8 liter four-cylinder one.

Read the rest here.


About Brian of London

Brian of London is not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy. Since making aliyah in 2009, Brian has blogged at Israellycool. Brian's interests include electric cars, world peace and an end to world hunger. Besides blogging here, Brian of London now writes at the Times of Israel. Brian of London also hosted Shire Network News

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What Is It Like Having A Battery Inserted Where The Sun Doesn’t Shine? : Israellycool
13 February 2012 at 12:02pm
[...] press has been let loose on the cars now and they’ve been pretty kind. As I’ve ...

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  • JMF

    Please be a bit more careful. You should not say “not a drop of gasoline” went into powering the car because you do not know what power source was used to produce the electricity that charged the battery.

    You can say “probably not a drop”, or “as soon as Israeli natural gas comes on stream I can be sure that not a drop”. If it keeps raining like this, maybe you might even be able to say, in a year or two, “knowing that power from the Jordan dams charged the battery, not a drop . . .”

    • Brian of London

      Gasoline is not used for commercial electricity generation anywhere as far as I know. As it says later in the article, most of Israel’s electricity is from imported coal, imported gas and soon our own natural gas.

  • God of Camels

    Once again the Zionist occupation of electricity. Arabs and western leftists must boycott it immediately.

    • Brian of London

      If we could have built these cars in Judea/Samaria with mixed Jewish Arab workforce think of the liberal head explosions!

      Green electric car, occupied West Bank…. Help!!!!

      BTW feel free to comment over at PJMedia…. hint!

  • mzk1

    Sorry, Brian. I couldn’t find the name of the author; no idea it was you.

    I’m afraid I “attacked” you for stating that the longest possible drive is from Tel Aviv to Eilat. (I live in Haifa and am not too fond of our second-largest city.)

    • http://brianoflondon Brian of London

      I’m pretty thick skinned, if that was an attack….. :-)

      So how many times have you driven to Eilat?

      My reply at PJM: I know… sorry, I knew I’d get grief for that line. I’ve driven up to Ramat ha Golan and Naharia and yes, people from Haifa drive to Eilat too. And while a trip from Ramat ha Golan to Eilat is possible, I can’t imagine anyone is doing it very often! And if you are, you need to get a light pilot’s license.

      • mzk1

        I can’t afford to keep a car, and I’m unlikely to manager getting an Israeli driver’s license anytime soon. If I did got to Eilat, I would take one of those new buses that goes right down kvish-shesh. (Score one for private enterprise!)

        Oh, congragulations on the new gig. It is just so frustrating to me about how much of the coutry is controlled out of Ramat Aviv – and this is even defended in the Knesset! Can you imagine – a moderate politician saying that the left contols, and should control the media, academia, the judiciary…. (He mentioned four institutions; I forget which exactly.) Not to mention the extreme exclusion of Sephardim.

  • walt kovacs

    how many miles can it go before recharge

    how long will the battery last before it needs to be replaced

    are they looking to create a conversion kit, or do they want to partner with a manufacturer to make a car

    i love that israel is doing what america shouldve started doing 20 years ago

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