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Israel to take lead on development of electric cars

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Filed: Timeline

A venture capital-backed plan to be announced on Monday will aim to jump-start the stalled electric vehicles market and make Israel a national laboratory for the world’s first mass roll-out of rechargeable cars.

Renault/ Nissan and startup company Project Better Place, backed by Ehud Olmert’s government, will outline plans to blanket the Jewish state with half a million charging spots and battery-swap stations for electric cars.

Renault is developing an electric sedan to target the Israeli market, and wants to mass-market electric cars there by mid-2011, people briefed on the plan told the Financial Times last week. The carmakers are not commenting on the project ahead of a press conference scheduled for Monday.

The scheme will aim to make electric vehicle recharging facilities ubiquitous, and alter the sector’s punishing economics by making the cars’ batteries the property of an outside service provider akin to a mobile-phone infrastructure company. In future, drivers would be able to monitor the battery power remaining in their cars, with in-car software directing them to the nearest place to recharge their cars, or swap their spent batteries for fully recharged ones.


Israel’s government last week approved generous tax incentives for electric vehicles, apparently aimed at laying the groundwork for the project to be announced on Monday.


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