The recent jump in petrol prices in Israel from ₪7.70 per litre to around ₪8.30 per litre have focused minds here. When I bought my Better Place car I fixed my cost per km for the next four years. Changes in VAT or energy costs don’t affect the cost of driving for me. The increasing number of battery switch stations are also making journeys easier.
So on Thursday my business partner and I drove to see two of our Arab customers: we just can’t escape the fact that my car is the cheapest car we own as far as making this kind of 200km trip.
Our first stop was in the heart of Jerusalem: Salah ad Din st. As anyone who has been in Jerusalem since the illegal occupation by Jordan ended in 1967 would know, there really is nothing to tell you when you move between areas that Israel held pre and post 1967. But Salah ad Din was held by the Jordanians and so it sits in an area from which all Jews were forcibly evicted in 1967.
Miraculously we found parking on this busy street, paid for our parking with a parking application called Pango. This is now built into the navigation dashboard computer. I select the city Jerusalem, activate and leave the car. That’s all I have to do to avoid getting a ticket.
When we came back to the car after meeting our customer in his shop, the owner of the money change kiosk came out to talk to us. He had dozens of questions. My partner answered him in Hebrew and we took his number. I’ve passed it on to Tal at Better Place for a proper sales call. He was hugely interested in the car and very pleased to see one parked outside his shop.
I guess nobody told him that he’s supposed to boycott the evil Zionists of Better Place!
From there we struck off north. We headed out of Jerusalem partially following the track of the new light rail project. This connects Jewish and Arab neighbourhoods with the centre of the city. There is, of course, an absolutely homogeneous mix of Arabs and Jews using it. Most of the route we followed, however was through Arab villages. We stopped in the very Arab restaurant of Abu Hassan (just a normal shawama restaurant) in Beit Hanina.
After another quick stop just outside Ramallah (our customer is inside but it’s better he come out to meet us at his other store just outside the city) we drove back.
Unfortunately we needed a battery switch on the way home. The middle leg was 105km. However there will soon be another switch station closer to Jerusalem (in another Arab village called Abu Ghosh). When that is working we would have switched much closer to Jerusalem and I would have had enough power to make the second part of the trip on one battery.
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