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Israel's Quest for a 'Better Place'

A US based company is launching market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles.

The statement alone is uninteresting except Israel is such a tiny country that is just actually might work. Within a decade the country is likely to  have an all-electric car infrastructure achieving oil independence. The concept is for selling electric car miles like cell phone minutes, accompanied by a network of chargers and battery swap stations.

As part of my trip in Israel I toured the company’s ‘Better Place’ facility for an interactive tour of the system they are building. Ultimately, the tour ended in test driving the electric cars at 80 k.p.h. on a test track course less than 30 minutes from Tel Aviv. What made these cars unique were the silence.The only noise I could hear were my friends screaming to go faster.

I am certainly not into cars. I have driven only a handful of time in over 5 years and don’t plan on doing so anytime soon. I much prefer living in places where I can walk everywhere or take cheap taxis.

Though I obviously could care less about the technology or specifications behind their system the idea of a country like Israel becoming mostly free of oil is intriguing. By 2020 the Better Place company and Israel expect to sell only electric cars. At this point, 51 battery switch stations will be built this year to cover all of Israel. All electricity for the cars will be from a solar farm south of Israel.  Besides the battery switch stations, more than 1,000 functional charging spots for the cars and thousands more will be put in place by the end of 2011, according to Shai Agassi,

CEO of Better Place Israel.

The company’s founder bases his company on the strategy to make lithium ion batteries chargable at home and work for up to 90 miles. Customers are then billed based on usage, as I explained with the cell phone comparison. Better place differs from other electric car companies because its users can exchange dead batteries in under 3 minutes at one of many switching stations off Israel’s highways.

With already $700 million already raised this company is no pipe dream. It’s really got an optimistic future.

Jason Bartoli
Jason Bartoli

"Jason is the best person you'll ever meet here. He's just a ray of sunshine. An adventurer, businessman, and has a 4.9 Uber rating. Lovely person inside and out. I say, go message him" - My Mom

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