Israel, Denmark and Renault Commit to Electric Cars

Renault_vers-zero-emission-dispatchCAR manufacturer Renault has announced a commitment to the production of at least 100,000 electric cars by 2016. 

The announcement was made at the Frankfurt Motor Show with the cars to be built for drivers in Israel and Denmark.  

The success of electric vehicles will depend on the development of a network of charging points and swapping stations.  The Danish and Israeli governments have apparently committed to this infrastructure working with electric-vehicle recharging specialists, Better Place.  

Presumably Renault also believes that the price of oil will rise.  

Following is yesterday’s media release from Better Place:

“FRANKFURT (September 15, 2009) – Today, at the Frankfurt Motor Show, Better Place marked its next major technology milestone by demonstrating its electric vehicle (EV) services platform for making electric cars more convenient and affordable than internal combustion engine cars, unleashing a new era for wide-scale EV adoption.    In conjunction with Renault’s unveiling of the world’s first switchable battery EV for Israel and Denmark, Better Place announced a newly expanded agreement with Renault, committing both companies to a volume of at least 100,000 electric cars in both countries by 2016.

“As global demand for EVs builds and production scales so must the infrastructure.  As a result, Better Place also named additional ecosystem players including Continental of Germany, Flextronics, Intel, Microsoft, and TÜV Rheinland as Better Place seeks to scale up global production of its EV services platform and infrastructure deployment capabilities.

“Next year will be an exciting year for the auto industry and for consumers as the first wave of electric cars hit the streets,” said Shai Agassi, Better Place Founder and CEO. “The industry needs to continue to overcome the obstacles of extended range, price and impact on the grid if we’re going to be able to deliver a better experience than what consumers currently get.  Better Place is committed to working with existing and emerging players in this exciting new category, which has the potential to drive the industry to sustainable growth in the near term and beyond.”
“Better Place showcased its EV services platform, which manages at scale the charging of electric cars and the impact on the grid, moments after Renault unveiled its five-seat, electric sedan designed and developed for initial introduction for Better Place subscribers in Israel and Denmark in 2011. Additional switchable EV models from Renault are currently under review.
“To enable mass market EV adoption, the Better Place solution includes interfaces designed to support all kinds of electric vehicles announced and under development, thereby providing a comprehensive infrastructure that the automotive and utility industry can count on for the transition to EVs.  It’s the combination of infrastructure – to physically charge the car – and the “information train” of data – which is used to optimize the charging and manage the grid – that forms the heart of the EV services platform. 

“Inside the car, Better Place manages the vehicle’s energy plan through an on-board computing platform, codenamed “AutOS.”  The AutOS platform performs complex energy calculations to create a personalized energy plan for each driver.

“Outside of the car, Better Place has architected a master data center, which acts as the “brain” of the network.  The Better Place data center enables “smart charging” of all electric cars on the network by optimizing and prioritizing when, where and how much each car is charged.  Doing so minimizes the impact on local utilities while carefully orchestrating the state of charge for all batteries on the network so that every car is “topped up.”

“As a centrally controlled function, the data center integrates any data across the entire network including: the availability of charge spots and battery switch stations; the state of charge of each battery; the ability to harness peak levels of renewable energy generation; topography maps and traffic patterns; and driving habits and patterns.

“By integrating the data, Better Place has a 360-degree view across the entire network of charge spots, battery switch stations, electric cars, batteries and local utilities, enabling an entire ecosystem of industry players to deliver a more convenient and affordable electric car…
“To date, Better Place has signed up orders from more than 50 Vision Partners in Israel – representing a total car park of approximately 35,000 ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles – which have committed to convert a portion of their ICE fleets to Better Place when commercially available in 2011.  These fleet customers include the Israel operations for multi-national companies including Cisco, FedEx and IBM, among others.
“In Denmark, Better Place is currently building similar demand among visionary companies. Better Place already has announced several partnerships with municipalities and a partnership with the local insurance company, TrygVesta, which will offer a 40% discount on insurance premiums for owners of EVs. For the UN Summit on Climate Change (COP15) in Copenhagen in December, Better Place will build a showcase to celebrate the EV as a scalable solution for fighting climate change.”

Notes and Links
About Better Place:
Picture from

25 Responses to Israel, Denmark and Renault Commit to Electric Cars

  1. Larry Fields September 17, 2009 at 1:56 am #

    from the article:
    “As a centrally controlled function, the data center integrates any data across the entire network including: the availability of charge spots and battery switch stations; the state of charge of each battery; the ability to harness peak levels of renewable energy generation; topography maps and traffic patterns; and driving habits and patterns.”

    One of the problems with wind power is intermitency. If a significant proportion of urbanites switch to EVs and if they use ‘smart charging’, then a grid with a wind component will be a bit less unstable.

  2. janama September 17, 2009 at 7:01 am #

    Better Place are setting up in Canberra first in partnership with AGL and MacQuarie Bank.

  3. Louis Hissink September 17, 2009 at 7:43 am #

    Oh great – that means finding more copper for the wiring, lithium for the batteries etc. and the Greeen agenda is to actually destroy the mining industry. Pipe dreams and all because of the fallacy that hydrocarbons are fossil fuels and thus finite.

    Don’t these people understand that electric cars are a luxury of an highly industrialised society?

  4. Eyrie September 17, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Exactly Louis. Like alternative energy schemes are a hobby for the rich.

  5. PeterB September 17, 2009 at 10:49 am #

    I talked to a guy the other day who’s converted a Charade to electric power. He started with a 20 year old vehicle with a range of probably 500KM and ended up with a 20 year old vehicle with a range of 70KM. And he was $20,000 poorer.

    It’s strange that some who advocate environmental restraint should continue to push the second biggest icon of consumerism, albeit in electric form. Pollution and fossil-fuel use are not the only reasons for demonising the car – land use and congestion have more immediate impacts. For the present, electric vehicles (with their limited range) can only address city travel, a need that could be addressed in other ways.

    I wish everyone luck with electric vehicles , but I’ll keep riding my bike thanks.

  6. Rob September 17, 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    Reading articles like this would lead us to beleive that making an electric car is the easiest thing in the world to do. If I can’t figure a way to make my lawnmower run that way, I wonder how realistic it really is.

  7. Larry Fields September 17, 2009 at 1:49 pm #

    There’s an option for people who like electric vehicles, but don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for an electric car. Caveat: It’s very geeky. Here’s a link to a photo.

    It’s battery-powered (short trips only), or people-powered.

    A couple of years ago, I bought an older cheaper model, before battery power was an option. I was in remission (and still am) from arthritis in my hip. At the time, I felt the need for some aerobic work, in addition to the usual strength training for my legs. Long walks would have put too much repetitive stress on the old hip joint. Bicycle-riding would have been even worse. My 3-wheel vehicle (3WV) fit the bill.

    There are no pedals. You stand on small platforms above the rear wheels. You don’t push with your foot, as you would with a scooter. Instead you use angular momentum to propel yourself forward. There is a learning curve. It takes practice to master the coordinated twisting and weight-shifting.

    On level ground, my 3WV is faster than walking and more energy-efficient than running. Uphill is a different story. My 3WV is less energy-efficient than a bicycle. But it folds up. And yes, it has hand-brakes.

  8. janama September 17, 2009 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m all for electric cars.

    They are quieter, and have no exhaust. It reduces the number of petrol tankers on the roads and keeps all the emissions in one place, the power station, where they can be controlled.

    An electric motor has less moving parts than a petrol or diesel motor, requires minimum servicing and give max torque instantly.

    Plus once everyone has an electric car with no noise or pollution the greenies will finally stop complaining about adding new roads and highways.

  9. Noelene September 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm #

    I read an article on electric cars that stated emergency crews are being trained in how to handle them when they are involved in an accident.There is a risk of being electrocuted because you cannot turn the motor off with a key,if the engine is still running they have to disconnect wires under the bonnet.That article alone turned me right off them.There is also a worry for deaf people and children as they are completely silent,I think it is another example of man fooling himself,he thinks he is progressive,but really he is going backwards,just like windmills.The favourite mantra of the believers is that fossil fuels will run out.I wonder how long lithium supplies will last,and how much China will sell to the western world,Japan is already having trouble with getting enough lithium (they smuggle it in),as China has bought a lot of the world’s supply.China and clean mining go hand in hand don’t they?They’ve been given a free pass to do exactly what they want,which leads to pollution in not only their country,but any country that they mine resources in.

  10. chrisl September 17, 2009 at 5:58 pm #

    A relative in Europe who gives seminars on alternative fuels told me that if 10% of vehicles are changed to electric, electricity supplies would have to double.It seems an amazing statistic. Where would the extra power come from? The elecectric car would seem to be a non-starter in more ways than one.

  11. PeterB September 17, 2009 at 6:11 pm #

    ‘land use and congestion have more immediate impacts’ – sorry, I left out crashes, injuries and death.

  12. Larry Fields September 17, 2009 at 7:03 pm #

    I don’t know the assumptions behind the factoid that you gave. Perhaps it was assumed that a RANDOM sample of 10% of all petrol-powered vehicles would be instantly replaced with functional electric vehicles. Here’s a more realistic way that EVs could fit into an urban landscape.

    A couple has both a cheap EV AND a conventional petrol-powered vehicle in their garage. The person with the shortest commute drives the EV, and the other person drives the petrol-powered car. For weekend road trips, they use the petrol-powered car. That approach could save them money in the long run. It would be like owning 1.5 cars, instead of 2. If 10% of all households chose this option, the actual mileage driven by the EVs would be considerably LESS than 10% of the total.

    Several years ago, I saw TV adverts for cheap EVs. If I remember correctly, they were powered by conventional lead-acid batteries, in order to keep production costs down. One problem was that these vehicles were too slow, and were not legal on the busiest streets in many California cities. But if you did all of your EV driving on quiet residential streets, it would be a different story.

    The idea never really caught on, partly because the manufacturer hadn’t done his homework. Perhaps a more expensive version–powerful enough to be street legal in any California city–would have been successful.

  13. Louis Hissink September 17, 2009 at 7:48 pm #


    I think chrisl is questioning the logic behind replacing 10% of the petrol fleet with electric vehicles as a means of cutting down CO2. However, charging batteries would then require the power utilities to increase power but, and here it gets interesting, if the charge – recharge cycle is in the right ball park in terms of being recharged during night time, then it might simply mean increasing the base load of the the electrical generators during night time.

    However this is the very time that renewables are not working or, if wind, sometimes. Solar wouldn’t be at all, so the net result is that the existing power modules would need to be beefed up and that means either more nuclear plants, or hydrocarbon powered ones.

    In other words the inmates are in charge of the asylum and right now there isn’t much we can do about it except write our electronic pamphlets here and via the internet fora before we are shut down on the necessity of being sustainable. PC’s consume electricity, you know.

  14. Hasbeen September 17, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Gee, you would want to be a bit careful, buying a Renault.

    A little bird, [no not that one] told me that they crash, on command. Don’t think I want one of those.

  15. Larry Fields September 18, 2009 at 3:33 am #

    Louis wrote:
    “However, charging batteries would then require the power utilities to increase power but, and here it gets interesting, if the charge – recharge cycle is in the right ball park in terms of being recharged during night time, then it might simply mean increasing the base load of the the electrical generators during night time.”

    Who said that EVs must *always* be recharged at night? People who work downtown during the day could plug their EVs into charging units in parking lots. During sunny Sacramento Summers, a limited number of EVs could draw on some of the intermittent power generated by the PV facility that our local utility, SMUD, has already installed. Obviously our rainy, cloudy, and foggy Winters would be a different story.

    Several years ago, I was very surprised to see a charging station in Placerville, a small redneck town in the Northern Sierra foothills.

    BTW, I have nothing against building more of the modern nuclear power plants. But here in California, the NIMBY factor must always be taken into consideration.

  16. Henry chance September 18, 2009 at 6:29 am #

    The issue with electric is waste. Between power and heat loss and transmission lines. only 13% of the power generated at a generator turbin ever reeches the wheels of an electric car. Charging batteries wastes a lot of electricity also. Nearly 100 % of the gasolene leaving the refinery ends up in the carbeurator of my car. Nobody talks about waste in the electric system.

  17. janama September 18, 2009 at 6:43 am #

    but Henry – the electric motor then runs at 98% efficiency whereas the your petrol engine only gets 35% efficiency.

  18. Jabba the Cat September 19, 2009 at 5:28 pm #

    A friend of mine has one of these electric plastic pigs because it is exempt from the weekday driving congestion charge into central London and because the council in the central borough where she works has “free” electric charging points for such vehicles. Interestingly, the adjacent borough also provides “free” charging for these vehicles but with the catch that you have to buy one of their converter leads, at £100 a hit, else you cannot plug in. This borough is also one of the most left wing loony ones in this country…lol. The “free” charging of course means paid for by the local residents in their council tax…lol.

    Having inspected said electric plastic pig from all angles, I have a mech eng background, I observed that there was little or no impact protection in the vehicle, to which I was informed that the electric plastic pigs are exempt from car safety legislation else they would be too heavy to manage anything but a trip around the block.

    From what I have seen this electric car business is nothing more than ecomentalist bullshit, totally disconnected from economic reality and potential deadly dangerous in the event of an vehicular collision.

  19. Larry Fields September 19, 2009 at 7:37 pm #

    Then spread the word. But in the overall scheme of things, but the driver of an electric plastic pig should be safer in a collision than a motorcyclist. Or should I say donorcyclist?

  20. Jabba the Cat September 19, 2009 at 8:06 pm #


    At least on a bike you have a chance of being thrown clear, as has happened to me twice. With a electric plastic pig you have a awful lot of kg’s of lead acid battery under your arse that will make serious mince meat of your lower legs and feet in the event of a collision and then acid burn the remains.

    Best stick to proper cars and motorcycles.

  21. janama September 19, 2009 at 10:11 pm #

    EVs – Electric Vehicles are real.

  22. janama September 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm #

    these guys will make them.

    or maybe these guys

    or these

  23. Larry Fields September 20, 2009 at 7:37 am #

    Here’s a link to a photo of the ultimate green car.

  24. Larry Fields September 20, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    Oops, try this instead.

  25. Louis Hissink September 20, 2009 at 7:18 pm #


    Yes, you are right – they can also be recharged during the day – but then driving home we need to plug them back in again.

    I’ve just bought a couple of Unisolar 64 watt solar panels for the caravan – mobile home you folks call them I believe -and apart from being the wettest September ever in Perth, so the news keeps stressing, – hooked them up to the batteries. Thank God for hydrocarbon energy is all I can say – there isn’t enough sunlight to power the panels to charge the batteries. I made that discovery during 1995 when I tried to use solar power for my mobile field camp – I think I used more fuel transporting the panels and batteries than getting any savings from “free Solo mio” energy. And the panels could not keep one portable Engel type fridge working. And this was in the northern climes of “Strayia” as it is now enunciated. Strayia – land of the strays from humanity.

    Oh like the VW under it’s green coat 🙂

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