I haven’t had a chance to drive my Better Place car to Eilat yet. Its a 5 hour trip (in a regular car too) and I don’t just do that for the fun of it. But a very new owner who I sat next to at the customer meeting a week ago did exactly that and sent me his comments which I can share with you. It was his first trip out of range of his home so he really took the plunge with both feet! Menachem sent me the following report which I’ve edited lightly for readability.
I had a good trip to Eilat! I left early and only checked the Oscar computer when I got on Highway 6. I was concerned when I found that the Sapir station was listed as not functioning. It turns out that it was because the Oscar hadn’t updated – the station goes online officially at 7 am and this was just about 7 am.
In any case, it turns out that several of the switch stations (Kiryat Gat and Yotvata) are already automated and unattended with phone guidance available. I also discovered that the entrance to the washrooms was using the Better Place “smart card”.
I stopped 4 times and that worked out well with my “personal needs”. The car performed well on the road and I was able to pass with ease. There is a changing station just at the entrance to Eilat.
Our return trip last (Sat) night was “almost” eventful. Oscar routed me via Arad (on the way down it was through Dimona). I couldn’t figure out why till we saw that the Dimona road (25) was bogged down in traffic. The attendant at the Arava/Sapir changing station gave me advice about making the climb out of the Jordan Valley that was spot on. He said, stay at 70 kmh and cut down on A/C, because the climb really saps the battery.
According to the original plan, we were to reach Arad with about 20%, and actually only a few kms from the changing spot we were still at 15%, but the last climb really sapped it and we reached the station with 5% (lower than my comfort level).
Furthermore, though the Oscar directs you right to the changing station, the actual road access to it has not yet been finished (it’s in an unfinished shopping mall) so I had to go around once before I could get in.
But, all’s well that ends well, and we reached home in 5 hrs (door to door). The ride is comfortable. The Royal Beach Hotel in Eilat, BTW, has a charging station in its parking lot, and the changing station for Eilat is only about 5 minutes north of the center of town.
There you have it.