Israel Initiates Massive Electric Car Program

In one of the most aggressive national campaigns to date, Renault-Nissan has been awarded a major contract to develop electric cars for Israel. This isn’t one of those US-style campaigns that calls for a 1% increase in solar power reliance over the next 50 years; this a full on greenfest slated to impact Israel within the next three to four years. Renault already has working prototypes of their European-built electric car on the roads in Israel and public availability is scheduled for 2011. The Renault contract is part of Israel’s nation-wide initiative to significantly reduce the country’s dependency on oil and petroleum. Israel is also a perfect candidate for Renault’s relatively short-range electric cars because the country itself is so small. Israeli drivers travel an average of 43.5 miles per day and Renault’s car is reported to have a range of between 45-72 miles on a single charge. In terms of charging, Israel has enlisted California-based Project Better Place to build 500,000 charging stations throughout the country. The stations will swap out depleted batteries for fully charged replacements and will then recharge empty batteries to be swapped out again later. Of course they will not rely on conventional power sources to juice up batteries, but instead will draw from wind and solar power. Car owners will also be able to charge their NEC-built car batteries at home, which means that shorter-range drivers may rarely be bothered by having to stop at refill stations! In the event that the battery is running a bit low however, Renault’s car will notify the driver that a fresh battery is required and also point them towards the nearing charging point. Convenient and green; we’re getting there…it just isn’t on our own turf.


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