Israel is Dead Serious About Green Transportation

Israel  has taken a bold step forward to decrease its dependency on petroleum which it mainly imports from Russia. Renault-Nissan, the government of Israel and an electric charging station start-up (Project Better Place) are mounting an effort to make electric cars part of ordinary life in Israel in the next decade. The Israeli-led project main goal is to develop alternative energy sources and slash oil dependency.

Project Better Place is expected to build 500,000 electric service stations in the country. At these stations, attendants will swap out depleted batteries and put in fully charged ones. This saves the several hours typically required to charge a lithium-ion battery pack made for cars. (You can also charge the batteries at home.)

On the other hand Renault-Nissan is getting ready to export electric cars to Israel in approximately three years . Ultimately, the company hopes to ship 10,000 to 20,000 a year.

A Renault-Nissan spokesman said the cars, with a range of about 100 km in city driving and up to 160 km on the highway, will accelerate from zero to 100 kph in 13 seconds and have a top speed of 110 kph — similar to many gasoline-powered cars. Israel is the perfect country to carry out this project because 90 percent of Israelis drive less than 70 km a day and all major urban centers are within 150 km of each other.

The cars, to be made in Europe, will be available in 2011 or 2012. A prototype is already on the road in Israel and various models will be sold by Renault and Nissan. The energy-efficient car would cost the same or less than comparable gasoline engine autos and would have a lifetime warranty.

Prime Minister Shimon Peres announced the deal this morning saying it would benefit future generations.

“I think about the world that they will inherit from us. And I worry. If we pass to them our addiction to oil, we will make them pay for our sins. If we pass to them an unlivable planet, we have sinned them. The Prophet Jeremiah says that ‘The fathers have eaten sour grapes, And the children’s teeth are set on edge.'”

I’m so happy that Israel has decided to take effective actions to decrease the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. I hope other countries follow suit.


Photo of an electric car manufactured by Renault.
(Credit: The Battery Vehicle Society)

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