Coffee and keys to Better Place Renault Fluence ZE, IsraelEnlarge Photo
Ignoring the value of items like tow-truck coverage and OnStar-like tracking included in the Better Place subscription, I've saved at least $300 on fuel compared to my previous Honda Civic.
What do I like?
- The car's performance around town is a joy: fast and responsive while easy to drive slowly in Tel Aviv's notorious traffic.
- The air conditioning cools the car fast, and I've enjoyed having the car precooled by a timer while parked in my hot garage through the summer.
- Service on the phone and in person from Better Place continues to exceed my expectations. Money they owe me is a paid promptly and inquiries are dealt with quickly and efficiently.
- Better Place has added a very slick parking app so I can pay for on-street parking anywhere in Israel, directly from the car's dashboard.
- The switching stations work as designed when needed.
What don't I like?
- Who decided that headrests in new cars must permanently touch your head? I can't put the Renault's headrest back far enough, and it's annoying.
- The air-conditioning fans are too noisy, perhaps because everything else in an electric car is so quiet.
- The range-prediction system isn't great at predicting downhill range; descending from Jerusalem, I frequently beat its range projection with 20 percent less battery usage, meaning I have to ignore warnings to pull over and switch batteries.
- The current placement of switching stations aren't optimal for me; I can now drive anywhere in Israel, but when more stations come online, I'll need fewer stops.
- The Israeli Electric company and Better Place still haven't managed to install a separate electricity supply for my car at home. Better Place promptly repays me each month for the power I use, which I pass on to my building's condo board, but this remains a broken promise that makes both Better Place and me look bad.
However I look at it, I'm still a happy Better Place customer and--as regular readers surely know by now--I still recommend the car and service to everyone who questions me at traffic lights or comes up to me when I park.
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.
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