Better Place launches electric car battery-swap model in Israel

Four years after former SAP director Shai Agassi announced it would begin its first commercial operation in Israel, the company handed over the keys of the Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars as part of the first step in a staged rollout across the country.

Better Place plans to target fleet owners initially, with deliveries to the general public beginning in the second quarter of 2012 as recharging infrastructure across the country is completed. In 2010, Better Place claimed to have 92 companies signed up, including Motorola and Computer Associates, with a combined target to roll out 45,000 cars.

About 200 battery-swapping and recharge stations are due to be installed in Israel to cater for the electric cars, which can travel about 140 miles before the battery needs to be replaced or recharged.

‘The first wave of electric cars is the ultimate proof that the change is here,’ Moshe Kaplinsky, chief executive of Better Place Israel, said in a statement.