On April 23th 2012, Ronit welcomed us at the headquarter of Better Place, an Israeli company which is located in an old water tank in Tel Aviv, and invited us to enter a theater built with recycled vehicle seats.We were shown an amazing 3D movie about the company stategy. Better Place is a company created in 2005, which mission is to make the world a better place (yes, it sounds like a Michael Jackon’s song). The electric car can look like an utopia, but it’s already here.
Charging an electric car at Better Place
The introduction of electric vehicules in the car industry
One hundred years have passed after the invention of cars and if many innovations have been made, they are still mainly combustion engines. Yearly, 85 million barrels of gasoline are used worldwide and almost half of it is used for transportation. Approximately 750 million cars are active currently.
A possible solution is the hybrid engine, that combines a traditional engine with an electric or gas motor to reduce consumptions by about 20%, but from 1995 to 2005, only two million hybrid cars were produced and sold.
Pollution is a crucial issue. A research shows that 70% people think the dependence on gas has to be stopped.
For Better Place, the electric car is the solution. Through a partnership with Renault and a collaboration of twelve different countries they have created a network to solve the autonomy limitation of these cars.
Better Place has decided to expand the electric car ecosystem by building up a model which consists of:
- Electric Cars
- Park and plug
- Switch stations
- Integrated services
Renault, in partnership with Better Place, produces the Fluence, the 1st car with replaceable battery. The new lithium battery allows an autonomy of 160 km. To travel over longer distances, Better Place has developed a network of battery replacement, which allows in five minutes to walk away with a new charged battery. With the purchase of the car, the company will also install a plug at your home for reloading daily your electric car (a full charge lasts 7h). Better Place is also able to provide information, and tells you where are the stations to adjust your journey.
Inside the electric car, Better Place office in Tel Aviv
The electric vehicle in practice: a new comfort on board
Why chosing electric energy for vehicules? The vehicles are silent, the acceleration is immediate and especially the engine performance is better. In addition, electrical energy can come from renewable sources instead of gasoline. But with Israeli sources derived gas, the use of electric power guarantees only a saving of 30%.
Then we could try the car for a mixed course of one kilometer. The students with a driving licence took a key, entered the car with 2 or 3 passengers, and had a trial. We were all very excited! Impressions? Silence is impressive, especially when starting out. Only braking is different. The engine is reversed and recharges the batteries that provide a good engine braking. Now there is the car, the infrastructure, the solution… The question that arises is: are people willing to change?
Ricardo driving an electric car: Renault Fluence