Smart Car Dream In Israel Not So Smart

Discussion in 'Prius, Hybrid, EV and Alt-Fuel News' started by zenMachine, Nov 10, 2012.

  1. zenMachine

    zenMachine Just another Onionhead

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    How Better Place's Electric Car Vision for Israel Went Off Track | TIME.com

    As promised, the landscape of Israel is dotted with battery-switching stations, 27 blue-and-white buildings bearing the logo of Better Place, the most ambitious electric car enterprise in the world. The batteries are right there too, rows of lithium-ion blocks that can be lifted in and out of the rear of a four-door Renault Fluence in a bit more than the time it takes to fill up at the pump.

    The only thing that’s missing is the cars — or, rather, the people who want to drive them.

    In six months, Better Place has sold only 500 cars in Israel, the country that was supposed to showcase the vision of its founder, Shai Agassi, who predicted 100,000 totally electric vehicles would be on the road by 2016, sticking it to the petroleum industry and the despots it funds. Instead, Agassi is gone, forced out as CEO last month because of mounting losses seated in the hesitancy of Israeli consumers to commit...
     
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  2. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    It was never going to work.

    Imagine something similar with your mobile phone; exchanging your battery when it ran low. Would you trust the battery you were going to be exchanged with? Do you need the hassle? The battery of a phone designed 5 years ago just wouldn't meet the size and/or requirements of a phone today. Same applies to an EV.

    The Fluence HV battery is a huge box (yes a square box) that makes the car a little unbalanced, fills up almost the entire boot (trunk?), and just generally gets in the way. It had to be designed that way to enable it to be fast swapped, rather than the flat, low center of gravity HV batteries everyone else use.

    He'd have been better installing fast charge 'stations' around the Country that could be used by ALL electric cars and vans.
     
  3. Flying White Dutchman

    Flying White Dutchman Senior Member

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    There is also a smaller suv with a battery pack thats flat.
    The fleurnce was not designd as a ev from the groundup.
    Thatd wy you have a the big battery in the trunk behind the back seat.
    Got nothing to do with fast swapping.

    Fast charging stil takes 20min.... Thats useless

    Swapping battery is perfect.
    Bewerk technology can then be used over time inside those battery housings.

    Ita a shame but 2016 is still far away

    -Tapatalk
     
  4. GrumpyCabbie

    GrumpyCabbie Senior Member

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    So you need to hold at least 2 different types of battery in stock at EACH location? Then when other manufacturers bring different models out, you'll need to keep a few of those in stock at all locations too?

    I'll let you invest in that, but I can't believe anyone invested in this idea - ecologically worthwhile as it was . With each battery costing £/$/€ thousands and having to have a few of each type in stock at each location, but only recovering a small cost of each hire. Then you have the investment costs and wages too. I know I'm not a high flying business man but it just seems like a heck of a lot of investment and outlay for minimal return.

    A fast charge takes 20 minutes but costs you pennies for the odd time you need it so is worthwhile waiting for. If I wanted to go long distances with convenience I'd take the Prius.

    Battery swap seemed a good idea but without universal standards for HV batteries was destined to fail. The manufacturers can't agree on a charge socket standard, let alone the HV battery.
     
  5. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    is it the program/car/battery, or is it the population? i could picture a similar problem here. how many cars did they project to sell by now? 4000. they're not that far off (compared to volt/leaf/pip projections). it sounds just like green investment here. politically driven media expects instant results and jumps on any failure as if government investment never had any failures in other areas. too bad moore manufacturers aren't offering different models that accept the same pack. it's really like starting the automobile industry all over again, except the first time, they were competing with horse and buggies.
     
  6. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

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    Perhaps they are before there time. There is anxiety with people migrating to the EV car.
     
  7. hybridtwins

    hybridtwins Member

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    It seems like about every 100 years there is a shakeout of power plants for autos. At the dawn of the 20th Century, the contenders were steam, electric and ICE, and ICE won out. In the new Millennium, the players are ICE, electric, fuel cell and hybrid gas-electric. ICE is still winning marketshare-wise, but hybrids are at least a blip on the radar screen, and are commanding huge mindshare.

    IMO the problem now is we've created this concoction called gasoline, and we've spent about a century refining the process (pun intended) to the point that even the best commercial battery technology can't come anywhere close in terms of energy density.

    Maybe in another 100 years we'll figure out some marvelous battery chemistry that will let us charge in just minutes... or maybe not. But I don't see this happening in the next decade, despite all the lab curiosities you hear about in the news.
     
  8. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

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    well selling 8x less is horrible...

    their main mistake is probably that they thought customers regarded cars as appliances... while they used them as ones, people like the ability to chose which one to buy... having single option, is not good. You would have to pay me to drive Fluence.
     
  9. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    According to the article, the funding support is in part from Israel Corp which is a conglomerate that has a number of green initiatives, including some in USA I have bumped into. I hope some of this company's green ventures are successful but not sure. Do we know how elec power is generated in Israel and cost? (fuel mix/plant types)
     
  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    or maybe we're going to have to have a scarcity of gasoline.
     
  11. bwilson4web

    bwilson4web BMW i3 and Model 3

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    It sounds like they were trying to replicate the factory floor model where electric vehicles swap out battery packs. This works as long as all vehicles are identical or take identical battery packs. More importantly, all vehicles and battery packs are subject to a consistent maintenance and management program. I just don't see that happening with privately owned vehicles. Perhaps a fleet but not individually owned vehicles.

    Bob Wilson
     
  12. Avi's Advanced Automotive

    Avi's Advanced Automotive Independent hybrid repair shop

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    I know they have natural gas and solar. I think they got rid of oil burning power generation. Reading Power Station - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for example.
     
  13. Avi's Advanced Automotive

    Avi's Advanced Automotive Independent hybrid repair shop

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    Last week I was walking out of the grocery store across the street from my shop and saw a GenI Rav4EV pulling into the lot. Still on the road and working perfectly. Back at Alt car expo a few months ago I drove the GenII version. It's a shame there was a 10 year gap between the two.

    Is anyone willing to come up with a reason why we can put a man on the moon but can't build a bunch of EVs with identical switchable batteries?

    CHAdeMO works perfectly well, why do you think the SAE will not accept it? Imagine how many SAE standards apply to ICEs.

    Electric Vehicles are a no brainer. The infrastructure is already in place. The only thing in the way is politics.
     
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  14. spwolf

    spwolf Senior Member

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    you can build them... plenty of capacity. problem is people are not buying them.
     
  15. JMD

    JMD 2012 Prius 4 Solar Roof

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    They are starting to be more common in California as some Engineers, Software Developers, Actors, and clean environment advocates become early adopters. Ed Bagley Jr has a popular TV show on cable which is in multiple years now which has a big following. Getting it to critical mass will be in our lifetimes. You can guarantee the Google car that drives itself will be the standard in our lifetime with some EV technology. That is my opinion.
     
  16. Rebound

    Rebound Senior Member

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    I rarely park my car for less than 20 minutes. This causes issues for very long drives, but if I have to drive 200 miles and then charge for 20 minutes, that's ok.
     
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