Over the last couple of days I’ve visited the Better Place visitor centre in Glilot a couple of times. Unfortunately I have to report it isn’t the visitor centre any more: it’s now a car sales room.
As part of the cost cutting Better Place are currently going through, the centre has scaled back and is now primarily a car salesroom. They have cut the staff of permanent guides, greeting staff and others.
The centre had, for better or worse, become a fairly popular and free tourist attraction in Israel. But while it was free for visitors, it cost the company a small fortune to run. As important as it was for communicating the vision, the company feels that it isn’t really a cost effective way to sell cars in Israel.
I’m genuinely a little sad as it was almost a year ago at this very centre that I decided to quit my oil dependency and go electric. I had no intention of buying an electric car when I walked in. A few days later I’d paid a deposit.
But I do understand from a business point of view that showing a movie to bus loads of Birthright trip kids from the US is not likely to see a return on investment anytime soon. The capability to demonstrate the cars and the system is still there and serious prospective customers can be accommodated. I’m sure they will also still use the centre sparingly for visiting foreign dignitaries but please don’t expect you can just show up and be treated to a full show.
Nevertheless, if you are genuinely interested, visiting from abroad, and a reader of Israellycool, please get in touch with me and I’ll see what I can do.