Today I have a major piece about Better Place up on the Times of Israel again. This time the target is the woeful Israeli Government behaviour toward Better Place.
Despite professing that they want to move Israel off Oil, they’re making completely stupid moves that completely ignore the massive investment Better Place have made here.
There are so many very low cost or zero cost actions the Israeli Government could be taking if it is serious about kicking the oil habit: a reduction in company car tax for electric vehicles; parking price reductions; reduction in fees levied on Israel’s toll road; purchase for use by Government ministers and employees; legislation making it harder for condominium buildings to block installation of home charge points; stipulation to build charging infrastructure into new parking lots and many more.
None of these measures (all in place in various European countries) would come even close to matching the money Better Place has already invested in Israel. I’m far from an advocate of government intervention in markets, but Better Place’s current sales offer is attractive enough for the Government to lease cars for its own use. They are competitive with similar vehicles. France just ordered more than 2000 electric cars from Renault without a switch network in place!
When sold and bought in larger numbers, electric cars will become dramatically cheaper than existing oil cars. If we are serious about having any alternative to oil burning cars: this is the strongest horse to back with minimal short term assistance. Just the confidence given by the government leasing 500 cars would make a huge difference and actually save taxpayers money from day one.
For those of us happy owners who know the solution works, this continued lack of any interest in the success of this project by the Israeli Government borders on the insane or (and I’ll suggest this here) reeks of political corruption. Was it personal antipathy toward Shai Agassi or Idan Ofer? What is the reason. There is no logical way to profess the goal of reducing dependence on oil and then ignore the $500m investment that Better Place have made.
Read the whole piece and leave comments at the Times of Israel.
I also wish to expand on my thinking about government support later: as anyone who has followed me for a while would know, I’m most certainly a small government kind of guy so calling for government handouts is not my style.
If anyone who reads it has any connections that would like to translate and publish in Hebrew in one of the major Israeli papers, please get in touch with me.