Renault Fluence ZE charging at Better Place pubic charge spots in Israel [photo: Brian of London]Enlarge Photo
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 Israellycool.com about life in Israel, technology & business topics and lately his electric-car driving experiences.