The Transportation Ministry has approved the import of 13 Renault Fluence
electric vehicles by the Better Place company to begin testing the company’s
Better Place is looking to begin commercial operations
late in 2011.
The ministry announced Sunday that it had approved the
import after signing oversight orders which, among other things, eased the
criteria to allow new importers into the automobile market. The cars are set to
begin arriving within two weeks.
The ministry also approved the import of
the Renault Kangoo, the first electric vehicle for commercial use. Additional
electric vehicles for non-commercial use were expected to arrive in 2011, the
ministry said, including models from Citroen, Mitsubishi and
Approving Better Place’s request and the additional future
imports are part of the ministry’s plan to encourage more environmentally
friendly and safer vehicles.
The ministry has also asked the Standards
Institution of Israel to form a committee to draw up standards for electric cars
and their infrastructure. The committee expects to publish the standards
sometime next year.
Better Place will use the 13 vehicles to test its
system of charging spots and battery- switch stations, as well as in its
demonstration center at Pi Glilot.
Meanwhile, The Marker reported that
the National Infrastructures Ministry was planning to forbid the charging of
vehicles directly out of one’s home. According to the business paper, the reason
for the policy would be to regulate demand for electricity.
If it this
policy is implemented, it would benefit Better Place as the only company
planning to offer charging infrastructure and a partnership with a car
Israel will be the first country where the Better Place
system will be fully deployed, to be followed shortly thereafter by
The company also has agreements with a number of US states and
cities and with places in Australia as well.
Better Place was founded by
Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi and is based in California and
There are already 10,000 hybrid cars and 8,000 natural gas
powered cars on Israel’s roads, the ministry said.