Journal Entry: JFNA Mission Kicks Off with an Eye to the Future at A Better Place
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL, March 28, 2011, 1 p.m. – We started our mission with an incredible snapshot of the “Start-Up Nation,” the theme of our Federation’s Evening of Power this year. Today’s focus on the future was a visit to A Better Place, the world’s leading electric vehicle (EV) services provider.
Located (fittingly) near a former oil storage facility, the company’s sales and demonstration center houses a space-age theater for multi-media presentations, a battery switching platform and a test track. EV cars and charging stations line the curb outside the building. The company is on an ambitious track to lead the world’s first build-out of an electric recharge grid network infrastructure for electric vehicles.
At A Better Place, it’s not just about manufacturing electric cars with the very latest technology; it’s also about building and operating the infrastructure and systems to enable the confident adoption of the technology in everyday life. The company is on the road toward that goal. For example, Israel plans to have 20,000 electric cars on the road (each can travel 100 miles with a fully charged battery) with 60 battery switching stations (for longer trips). By the way, it takes 96 seconds to switch a battery, far less time than filling up a tank of gas. A Better Place hopes that within five years, 3% of all cars in Israel will be using its EV technology. The company will be testing the vehicles in the U.S. by supplying 60 taxis to a San Francisco cab service within the next three to four months.
A Better Place is working with Nissan-Renault to manufacture the vehicles. We were shown a video addressing the sobering effects of oil dependency on the world economy and health. We each had an opportunity to test-drive a car – and even floor it on the test track straightaway. A Better Place is yet another example of how the “Start-Up Nation” is taking the lead to conquering an age-old problem through bold innovation and business planning.