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My Better Place Story

Better Place

For all my posts to date on Better Place, click here.

How it all began

The story so far: in January I saw a tweetup (meeting of people on twitter) being organised for the Better Place visitor centre which is only a 10 minute drive from my home. That short visitcompletely reversed my opinion on electric vehicles.

Live information

This page accompanying my “100 days” article in Green Car Reports contains live graphs showing a distribution of how many km I drive per day. The vast majority of days I drive less than 100km with a few days over that. I also have two live graphs one showing how many km per day I’m averaging. The other shows how many km I travel on average between battery switches. It turns out that this distance is similar to how far you can travel in a regular gas car between fill ups. This is because my car has it’s “tank” topped up every night at home: what a luxury!

Road Trips

I’ve written about a few road trips like a 120 km trip to Beit Shemesh, a 200 km round trip with the family and a 300 km round trip to my company’s office in the north. That last story includes a discussion comparing the range of the Tesla Model S and the subscription I pay for battery switching and electricity for four years. Turns out that moving from the base Model S to the medium one costs roughly the same as driving my car for four years.

Almost three months on from receiving the car, I’ve written howthe electric nature of the car just blends into the background.

On 19th August, Shai Agassi drove his car on a complete lap of Israel covering 1,150 km or 715 miles in a day and travelling from the centre, to the far north, then Eilat in the far south and back home. All in a day.

I’ve also taken the car on a trip to the parts of Jerusalem liberated by Israel in 1967 and on the return via the edge of Ramallah.

What does a switch look like?

Better Place in Israel makes owning an electric car completely comparable with owning a petrol car because of one feature that exists nowhere else in the world: rapid battery switch stations. Drive in with a depleted battery, drive out with a full one in under 5 minutes. The fastest way to re-charge other electric cars anywhere in the world is around 30 minutes to add 80%. I took a trip through one of these switch stations while it was being tested and before opening to the public and filmed it in real time.

Switching: so easy even a woman can do it!* Driving the car through a switch is pretty easy: so easy I even handed over the keys to Michelle from Jewlicious on our way home from Jerusalem and she took the car through the switch (only the second time she’d even seen a switching station).

*Note: if you don’t know my style of humour please understand this statement is dripping with sarcasm and not to be taken seriously!

Range Anxiety

Many people think the biggest problem in using an electric car is the limited range. The term Range Anxiety is the name given to this phenomenon. I’ve written about it: Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety Solved and I Laugh In The Face Of Electric Vehicle Range Anxiety!

This is a long chatty piece about travelling back and forth to Jerusalem three days running. Again this journey is beyond the notional range of the car but by using a public charge spot in Jerusalem, the trip is easy. To The Top Of The Hill And Down Again x3

Grid aspects of Better Place

I’ve written a few pieces discussing the benefits to the electric grid of adding large numbers of electric cars if these are predominantly charged over night: Battery Switching Or Pumping Electrons? and this piece Burying the Lead.

About the Renault Fluence ZE

Specifically about the Renault Fluence ZE that Better Place offers in Israel I wrote how my youngest child adapted to the new noises from this very quiet car. Green Car Reports alsopublished a report on my first week with the car. There are some more little nuggets of information in this post.

Regulatory Issues in Israel on Electric Vehicles

Israel has taken some unusual steps to protect its overly fragile electricity grid. I’ve discussed these at length in this post: The Only Monopoly Is The One Oil Has Over Transport Now.

by brianoflondon

Comments

RVolted's picture

My journey started some years ago, and initially it had nothing to do with PEV's. I live in Southern California, which is essentially a desert climate and I could not see the logic of water-hogging grass lawns, so gradually I changed over to other ground covers. The lawn mower left our house twenty years ago! We recycled before the word became fashionable.

Next step, insulating the house and double glazed windows. The next move, and a big one, was to have photovoltaic (solar) panels installed. This was followed by a gradual move to electric appliances as the old gas ones needed replacing, particularly the gas range as my wife now developed Alzheimer's disease and this became a safety issue - I really went 'downtown' with this and got an induction cooktop, I love to cook and a regular electric cooktop did not do it for me! The 'panels' handled most of the load and our electric bills were minimal.

Now came another big step - do we get an EV? Gas prices had skyrocketed here in California, I figured that mostly I could charge our Volt for nothing on our many sunny days in Southern California - although I am considering adding a few more panels to cover our winter needs now. I began test driving EV vehicles and was impressed with some of them - not all of them though. It came down to the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf. The Volt has the extended range with its gas generator but the Leaf had the longest battery range. It was a toss-up. Then Chevrolet offered zero per cent financing, I usually pay cash for my vehicles, but I did the math. We have our investments that keep us comfortable in our retirement, but we also have money in the bank drawing 1/2% interest at the best - and we get taxed on that too! Add to that a generous tax credit and the math became straightforward. Use the bank money for a down payment and take the Volt.

Have I regretted it? NO! It has been an economical and environmental decision that I am very satisfied with every day. Since we have bought our 'extended range PEV' we have taken several long trips in it for a total of about 3,750 miles so our 'm.p.g.' is around 80 m.p.g. Day to day around town the display says '250 m.p.g. +' - who would not be happy with that!

What do I like best? Well, top of the list is 250 m.pg. +, performance, people admiring the Volt, its features and technology, doing my 'bit' for the environment, finding hotels, restaurants etc where I can plug my PEV in for a recharge - I call it getting 'ReVolTed.' PEV'S can 'sexy' too - some ladies have called my Volt 'Ted's Testosterone Shot' - ain't that a blast!

Richard29's picture

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christyreddy's picture

Better Place in Israel makes owning an electric car completely comparable with owning a petrol car because of one feature that exists nowhere else in the world: rapid battery switch stations. Drive in with a depleted battery, drive out with a full one in under 5 minutes. لا يفوتك Virus Support UK Online computer fix

christyreddy's picture

brianoflondon I liked your experience with electric ca and you wrote a good post here, thanks for taking time to write a good blog.

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Gas prices had skyrocketed here in California

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The fastest way to re-charge other electric cars anywhere in the world is around 30 minutes to add 80%

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