Better Place Distance Dash

I’m still in London but yesterday I saw something happen on Twitter that is pretty impressive. Shai Agassi, founder of the electric car service provider Better Place, drove an entire lap of Israel.

He drove 1,150 km or 715 miles in a single day. He left his home on the coast near Tel Aviv. He drove to the border with Lebanon, up to Mount Hermon then all the way south to Eilat and back to his home in the centre of the country.

He started somewhere at home (north Tel Aviv somewhere) with a first tweet at 07:51 (I’m not sure what time zone Twitter is reporting…)

He then switched just north of Haifa (I recognise the sign) time stamped 08:15

At 9:41 he tweeted from the border with Lebanon

Next stop, Mount Hermon, the tallest mountain in Israel  which he reached at noon 12:00

And then the big drive…. all the way to Eilat which he reached at 19:30

He then showed his dashboard. 1,000 km covered and if you look to the left, a full battery

I went to bed, thinking Shai had earned himself a massage and a stay in a 5* Eilat hotel! So imagine my surprise when I see this when I wake up:

Time stamped 00:54. So he travelled 1,150 km or 715 miles in roughly 15 hours. That’s a moving average of 76 kph or 46 mph. All in an electric car just like mine.

No other electric car in the world with any other fast charging technology could do that. Not one. Not even the most expensive in the world.

For 120 years gasoline & liquid fuels have crushed all other forms of transport energy. Yesterday Shai Agassi drove around the whole of Israel in an Electric Car. He had to build the entire infrastructure to do that himself and that is an amazing achievement in four years.

And when I say “by himself” it means he put together an amazing team to help him. Every interaction I’ve had with every employee of Better Place to date has been an example of how to deliver customer service. From every BSS attendant to the people who answer the phones, all have been infused with an enthusiasm and willingness to make the customer happy that is out of the ordinary.

Shai used one or two switch stations that are not open to regular customers but I would guess they’ll be open within a week or two. You won’t have to be the CEO of the company to make this trip in a couple of weeks!

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

Facebook Comments

  • shlomo

    tel aviv to haifia in 25 minutes?

  • U S

    Tel Aviv to Haifa is more than 25 minutes…

    Go Shai, you are doing great.

  • Jerry Yurow

    I have dreamed of doing the same thing myself, although I probably would have stopped over night in Eilat, because I have never been there.

  • Moshe

    Dear Brian,

    I didn’t find in the post how many times he had to change batteries during this amazing trip. Do you know?

    • Brian of London

      I will ask, I don’t think I’ve seen an exact count. The range of the car is more reaslisticly 120 to 140km if you include considerable driving at 90 kmh. The stations (especially now when we have fewer than half of the eventually planned ones) are not always optimal so one ends up switching battery before one really needs to.

  • Daniel

    as the range with a fully charged battery is approx. 160km… I’d say 6 times, which is very very reasonable !!!
    I am impreesed – Shay, stay focused !!! Nice work …

  • Moshe

    This was my feedback letter to the Betterplace’s callcenter:

    Dear Sirs,

    Yesterday I had my first contact with the Betterplace’s Fluence-ZE through a test drive. It was pretty good! I am really amazed how successfully you could combine existing technology in this fantastic system “electric car+national infrastructure”.

    As a potential customer I have a point of view and suggestions to improve this national project and reach the success.

    The only real problem that I see today for private regular buyers like me is the lack of mechanism that will secure available parking with charging spot near their houses. I am not talking about the installation that is included in the package, but parking lot itself.

    The overwhelming majority of drivers today do not have private parking lots. Therefore there is a real need to implement a plan, in conjunction with the municipalities, that provides to the Betterplace costumers the availability of parking lots when they return home.

    This will open a new chapter in the public acceptance: for most of the costumers in the most of the time they won’t need to go to the stations to change batteries saving precious time. This will be a real advantage against all kinds of fossil fuel powered cars, even the hybrids.

    I wish a great success for Betterplace, for the sake of us all.

    • Brian of London

      You raise a great issue. I agree with you entirely: dedicated parking spots have two massive advantages. First they allow electric vehicle ownership and the other overlooked advantage is the massive amount of congestion and needless driving that owners who use on-street parking perform while hunting for a parking spot.

      I’ve read of schemes in Europe where city centre supermarket parking lots that are largely unused at night are opened up for overnight parking by nearby residents. We’re going to need some creative thinking like this to widen ownership in the centre of towns.

Israellycool is testing Sovevos. Click for more info.