Video: Better Place Opens First Battery Swap Station in Israel Video: Better Place Opens First Battery Swap Station in Israel
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Video: Better Place Opens First Battery Swap Station in Israel

by Ben Jervey

April 2, 2011

Bronfer explains how it works:

The battery switch process itself is thoroughly unexciting, which must mean great praise for Better Place’s work in developing the concept. The driver only needs to flash his Better Place RFID card at the machine, drive into the rather narrow tunnel and find something to occupy himself with during the upcoming 3 minutes. The car slides into position, slightly lifted – then an underground robot grabs the battery, disappears – and returns with a fresh one. All of this is invisible to the technologically impaired driver, while the geekier amongst us can watch the entire process streamed live on a TV planted outside.

"Unexciting" is exactly what a new automotive technology trying to be taken serious needs to be. The company plans to blanket Israel with enough of these stations that a typical driver can go anywhere in the country and not worry about running out of juice.

The first car to feature Better Place's new battery system is the Renault Fluence Z.E., and is currently selling for just $800 more than the most popular vehicle in Israel. Since economics won't be the limiting factor here, it's going to be fascinating—and instructive—to see if Israelis take to these electric cars.

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Video: Better Place Opens First Battery Swap Station in Israel