The government must do its utmost to ensure that Better Place customers continue
to receive service for their electric vehicles, Transportation Minister Israel
Katz stressed on Thursday.
“I gave instructions to do everything possible
in order to take care of this issue in all aspects,” he said.
addressing the opening session of the International Transportation Conference at
Kfar Maccabiah in Ramat Gan on Thursday, sponsored by the Morag Group and the
Transportation Ministry, in partnership with the Prime Minister’s Office. Dozens
of Better Place customers had gathered outside the conference hall that morning
in order to promote the continuation of the electric vehicle industry in
“Although the company is a private one, the state and the
Transportation Ministry, which I head, need to do their utmost to apply damage
control for the customers, as far as regulations will allow, Katz
“We must ensure that Better Place customers are able to continue
receiving services in all aspects – car charging, garage services, battery
Better Place filed for bankruptcy and announced that it
was closing its doors on May 26. With less than $9 million cash-in-hand at the
time of filing for bankruptcy, the company’s expenses were approximately $7m.
monthly. The liquidators charged with breaking up and selling the company’s
assets as well as paying off its obligations initially pledged to keep the
company’s battery swapping stations open through June 13. Today, 33 of the
original 38 battery switch stations are still open and running, in addition to
the plug-in charging infrastructure.
“We are now at a critical stage in
the acquisition of the company by a cooperative of customers with the backing of
investors and service providers,” said Efi Shahak, chairman of the Association
for Electric Transportation Advancement.
“State support for this national
project of electric transportation is expected in the future to yield important
fruit in the form of environment protection and the promotion of energy
independence for the State of Israel,” Shahak continued.
the transportation minister and hope that the State of Israel will help the
electric vehicle vision to continue operating in the future.”
June 2, American- Israeli solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz first announced
that he would likely place a bid on the fallen company’s assets. He is still
advancing in talks over the cooperative’s $50m. investment toward improving and
rebuilding the electric car project, but such an investment requires the
government’s support of electric transportation infrastructure in Israel, he
Abramowitz and his investment partners believe they can operate
a national network for electric vehicle customers with approximately half the
current swap stations and the 2,000 charging spots.
Together with the
cofounders of the Arava Power Company, Abramowitz was responsible for Israel’s
first gridconnected solar field at Kibbutz Ketura and launched Jerusalem-based
Energiya Global, which is working to erect solar fields in developing nations
around the world.
“Minister Katz recognizes that the electrical charging
network is a national asset, and that the drivers of electric vehicles, current
and future, are pioneers who deserve basic government support,” Abramowitz
His hope is that the government will cancel the purchase and cancel
value taxes on electric vehicles in order to encourage their widespread use, as
well as set a 20-percent target goal for integrating electric vehicles into
government and Israel Defense Force fleets.
“The Israeli public deserves
the benefits of lower car, fleet and operating costs as well as clean air,”
“The sun will rise again on the electric vehicle dream