(photo credit: KKL)
Will Israel be able to free the world from its dependence on oil, a dependence that causes environmental, economic and political damage all over the globe?
"Better Place", an Israeli company, is developing a 100% electrical car that is entirely battery powered, which an infrastructure of battery charging and replacement stations. The move to electric cars will help ensure a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable world. For participants at the KKL-JNF World Leadership Conference, the visit to the Center for Electric Transportation in Herzliya was the culmination of a day devoted to learning about unique projects for the benefit of people and the environment.
The first electric car, the Renault ZE Fluence, will first be seen on Israel's highways during the coming year, jump-starting the transportation and energy revolution of the 21st century. Israel was the first country to declare a goal of gradually ending the dependence on oil, followed by Japan, Denmark, Holland, France, Australia, Canada, California and Hawaii.
The idea was born at the conference of the World Economic Forum that took place at Davos in 2005. The president of the forum addressed a challenging question to a group of young leaders: "How can you make the world a better place?" Shai Agassi, an Israeli entrepreneur, answered the challenge, and began imagining a world that is not dependent on petroleum and oil-producing countries.
Since the Center for Electric Transportation was opened, thousands of visitors from Israel and abroad have been impressed the electric car, including participants of KKL-JNF's World Leadership Conference, who are very proud of Israeli achievements that will benefit the entire world. The conference participants heard explanations about the new project and also drove the new electric car.
Each electric car owner will have two charging stations of their own, at home and at the workplace, or any other place they choose. Charging the batteries takes about six hours, and full batteries allows for a 160 km trip. Battery replacement will only be necessary for longer trips. An advanced computerized system makes the drive a real experience.
The guide at the Center told the visitors that a pilot was run in Tokyo with electric taxis. Representatives of the company were surprised to discover that many taxis had to change their batteries ten times a day or more. When they checked the matter out, they discovered that many people especially ordered the electric taxis because they wanted to see how the 250 kg batteries were automatically changed in less than one minute!
David Elias of Toronto said that his city is supposed to be one of the first to join the project, and he is most certainly considering buying an electric car. After doing a test drive in the special lane at the Visitors Center, he said: "It feels just like a regular car, just quieter and with no gear stick. I am very proud that Israel is one of the leading countries in the world in innovative technologies."
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Max Iclicki of KKL-JNF Belgium was also very impressed by the electric car: "I think this idea could work in Belgium, which is a small country with big transportation problems. It's very exciting that Israel is a pioneer in this field."
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