How Do Public Charging Stations Fit Into Better Place Service? Page 2

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Renault Fluence ZE charging at Better Place pubic charge spots in Israel [photo: Brian of London]

Renault Fluence ZE charging at Better Place pubic charge spots in Israel [photo: Brian of London]

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And what if I've already used 15 percent of my battery on a school run and am heading to my office in the morning before I drive up to Jerusalem? Sure I can get there, but will I be able to get back?

Better Place lets me switch en route to Jerusalem or, depending on my starting charge, on the way back. 

Today there is only one switch station on the route and it's not optimally placed: the detour takes 15 minutes, so if I can avoid it, I will. There will be a switch station much closer to Jerusalem soon and that, for me, will be more convenient.

But I've found that two or three hours of Level 2 charging in Jerusalem  can replace one or both of these switches.

I still never plan to arrive in Jerusalem without enough charge to get back to the switch station on the return journey. That's my contingency if I can't use Level 2 charging for any reason, including a gasoline car parked in a charging spot or parking my Fluence ZE in some other location.

I've also used the public charging station at a mall near my home, but I do this more to show Israelis that these spots are getting used than because I really need to recharge.

Level 2 charging at hotels also comes in handy. If I'm planing a weekend break, I will now look for hotels with overnight charging facilities, which makes route planning and local touring much easier.

The downside to Better Place's subscription system is that I have absolutely no way to use domestic power in an emergency. I must either find a public charge spot or a battery-switch station, as electric-car users are not allowed to run a cable to any old electric outlet.

After some experience, I can say that public Level 2 charging plays a more important role in the Better Place service than I would have guessed.

Brian of London emigrated from the UK to Israel in 2009. He owns and operates his own import company in Israel with more than 15 staff. Today he regularly blogs at about life in Israel, technology & business topics and lately his electric-car driving experiences.


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Comments (10)
  1. Today, I had another experience where I asked (politely) a gasoline car owner to allow me to park at a public charging spot in a shopping mall parking lot. Unfortunately for her, this driver was the only one around the eight possible spaces potentially available for charging, but like the other Internal Combustion Engine(ICE) drivers gave no thought to the fact that this was a charge spot for an electric car. As soon as the woman understood what I needed, she moved her car and I thank her for this, I'd love to hear ideas on how to educate Israeli ICE drivers not to block EV charge spots, without having yet to resort to enacting ordinances and imposing fines.

  2. Maybe charger placement needs to be better? If one charger was accessible from two or more spaces perhaps the odds of getting a space would be better.

  3. They always install double chargers placed between two spots. Both spots can charge simultaneously. I don't think it would save much money to have only one wire between two spots. It's the installation work that costs, not whether the box has two sockets or one.

  4. I don't know what the final solution is but it would be nice is someone would figure it out sooner rather then later.

  5. Your not allowed to use an outlet! So if your car is about to die and your nowhere near a level 2 charger or swapping station you'd have to call a tow truck just because of a rule your forced to obey, that's stupid. On the other hand the locking charge cable is a very good idea I'd like to see locking cables become standard in all EVs. But I still don't care for the Better Place idea if I buy a car out right I don't want a mandatory subscription that dictates what I can do with my car and force me to pay fees for services that I don't need. Buying a charger and paying my electric bill isn't hard I don't need a service for that and I can live without swapping.

  6. Over on Google+ a Leaf owner was bewailing the lack of updates to his Nav system. What incentive do Nissan have to update it for him: he paid for his car, the only reason they have to update his computer is to prevent him moaning in public (which they haven't done).

    I wonder how much effort Tesla will put in to developing their systems for the Roadster now the S is here?

    You can rubbish the subscription from here till the end of time but most of the moaning I read about EVs is directly the result of the old car model of sell and forget.

    I sat in a meeting room with Shai Agassi and some "Champion" owners this week. ICING was a major discussion: Better Place, unlike Nissan or Tesla, have a real financial incentive to fix it!

  7. Some people just complain too much. When I bought my car I was well aware that it was a 2010 model. The next year automatic stop start was added to the 2011s, I would like to have had stop/start but it wasn't available when I bought so I couldn't complain. As for software my car's systems get updated when I go for my regular services, if an update is available. And I don't have a subscription for that it's just standard procedure and costs me nothing. A NAV update is nothing and beside I like some people have my iPhone's NAV and NAV apps to back me up and help plan my trips.

  8. So if you buy a Model S and import it to Israel, you cannot charge it freely at your home ? Sounds like Better Place has a monopoly then ? Those are never good.

  9. I would ask Better Place and they would sell me a charge spot and supply the electricity. They would make a very small mark up on it (it's a theoretical problem at present) but I will ask for a definitive answer next wek on what it would cost to use a non BP car on their network (without swaps of course).

    Govt policy mandates competition be allowed in but reality is everybody is waiting to see if BP are successful.

  10. Still it is madness requiring everyone to subscribe to a network. Whatæs wrong with putting up your own EVSE at home and charging from that ?

    And I do not think Better Place would install Tesla HPWCs ? So you'd be stuck at 16A or maybe 32A charging speed...

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