Blog: Glenn BrooksIsrael's quick-drop battery stations open for business

Glenn Brooks | 21 May 2012

The first battery-swap stations for EVs have just opened in Israel, but how will this brave experiment between Renault and Shai Agassi's Better Place fare? And is the promised 500km anxiety-free range now a reality?

I've driven the Fluence ZE, the model that Better Place and Renault are basing this experiment on, and I have to say, the car is good. In Israel, the goal is to establish a national network of battery-swap stations so that owners of the car can drive the length and breadth of this admitedly tiny country, without worrying about running out of juice. Better Place believes that if these 'quickdrop' (robotised drive-in three-minute battery swap) stations are seen to work, then buyers will begin to embrace EVs in droves.

Just over four years ago, the Renault-Nissan Alliance and the Israeli government signed a joint venture agreement that called for the establishment of an eventual 100 quickdrop stations. For now, there are only four of these facilities, with another 12 promised for the coming months. The partners, together with Better Place, also stated back in January 2008, that they hoped to see 500,000 recharging points for electric cars. Ambitious plans indeed.


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