Renault electric vehicle to roll into Israel in 2011

Target of 100,000 vehicles to be sold in Israel and Denmark by 2016.

renalut electric car 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
renalut electric car 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
French car manufacturer Renault and Israeli electric car infrastructure builder Better Place signed an agreement on Tuesday to import the Fluence ZE to Israel by the first half of 2011. Better Place is to import and distribute the cars in Israel and to market them via subscriptions, similar to those used for cellphones, in Denmark. The company's committed to selling a total of 100,000 vehicles in the two countries by 2016. Renault unveiled the concept car prototype for its Fluence line at the Frankfurt Motor Show in Germany on Tuesday. It will be the world's first mass-market zero-emission electric vehicle with a switchable battery. The five-seat Fluence ZE is 4.82 meters long, has an axle track of 1.672 meters, and a 0.329 cu.m. trunk. It has a range of 160 km. In Israel, it will come with a four-year, 120,000 km. warranty. Better Place has designed a battery switch station that can replace an empty battery with a new one in less than five minutes. It will also offer charging spots that provide a full charge in four to eight hours, or a fast boost to 80 percent of capacity in 20 minutes. Carlos Ghosn, Renault's president and CEO, said, "The signing of this agreement is a step forward for Renault's electric vehicle strategy. Fluence ZE will be the first Renault passenger electric vehicle, launched in 2011 in more than 20 countries worldwide. It will be an attractive and spacious electric family car that will enjoy highly competitive running costs compared to conventional vehicles. "Since we first announced our partnership with Better Place in January 2008, the Renault and Better Place teams have worked diligently to make today's announcement a reality, giving us a two-year lead over the competition." Shai Agassi, founder and CEO of Better Place, added, "Today marks an historic milestone in the tremendous collaboration between Renault and Better Place to bring to market a mainstream electric car that's more convenient and affordable than an ICE [internal combustion engine] car. We commend Carlos Ghosn and the entire Renault team for having the vision and execution skills to define a new market for the auto industry with Better Place. "We believe this kind of collaboration and innovation on zero-emission vehicles is the solution for turning around the auto industry and solving the harmful impact that CO2 has on our planet." Due to its alliance with Nissan, Renault is the fourth largest auto manufacturer in the world. Better Place also unveiled its EV (electric vehicle) service platform in Frankfurt. The Israeli-designed onboard computer system, linked to a central data center, will help manage each car's energy needs while ensuring the local electricity grid is not unduly stressed by excessive demand at any one time. Notwithstanding Better Place's partnership with Renault, the charging network will be suitable for all brands of electric vehicles. For the production of charge spots, Better Place announced that it has signed an agreement with the Singapore-based Flextronics International. Better Place and Flextronics will jointly engineer, develop and stress-test 1,000 next generation charge spots in the field before scaling up to 100,000 production-grade charge spots by 2011. Better Place is currently field testing nearly 800 charge points in Israel in a variety of private and public locations, including curbside locations, parking lots, shopping malls and private residences. The company has already signed agreements with 50 partners in Israel who have committed to converting a portion of their internal combustion fleets to electric vehicles. These include the Israel operations for multinational companies such as Cisco, FedEx and IBM.