2012 Renault Fluence ZE electric car, powered by Better Place in Israel [photo: Brian of London]Enlarge Photo
Driving on Israel's roads, the car is firm and stable. At high speeds, the center of gravity feels higher than ideal--I can imagine that in a sharp maneuver at speed, the tail could break loose. (I've driven and raced rear-wheel drive sports cars, so I know that feeling.)
The acceleration away from stoplights astonishes me, and other drivers too. It's ridiculously easy to activate the traction control and, in fact, with heavy-footed driving it's not easy to pull away without at least a little wheel spin.
I prepaid Better Place (which covers all my electricity and battery switches) for a subscription that covers up to 50,000 miles (80,000 km) over four years.
That means it doesn't matter if I get home with a 20-percent charge or any other level. As long as I know I have a reasonable margin to reach my destination, I can drive as fast as road conditions and the law allow.
Until all 40 Better Place switch stations are open, I'm receiving a refund of half my monthly subscription fee. (The company says that more than 15,000 switches have been performed in the few stations it has open thus far.)
Right now, that makes driving a real bargain--but if I wanted to drive all the way to Eilat (350 miles to the south), there would be no way I could reach it.
By the end of the summer, I hope to be able to report on that trip.
Brian Thomas ("Brian of London") emigrated from the U.K. to Israel in 2009. He now drives a Renault Fluence ZE sold through Better Place--joining David Rose and other early Better Place customers. He owns and operates his own import company in Israel with more than 15 staff. Thomas regularly blogs at Israellycool about life in Israel, technology and business topics.