The Knesset Finance Committee has allocated NIS 220 million to the Environment Ministry for, among other things, incentives to promote the use of electric vehicles, as well as institute several other programs to reduce emissions and improve air quality. The incentives are part of an overall agreement between the Ministry and the JNF.
Over the next two months, the Ministry will subsidize the acquisition of 2,000 hybrid electric taxis, allowing buyers to purchase the vehicles for the same price as the usual diesel-powered vehicles. Unlike Israel’s previous foray into electric cars, which required the vehicles to swap batteries at charging stations, these vehicles will be of the type familiar in most countries that could be plugged into an electric outlet to recharge.
There are about 20,000 taxicabs on Israel’s roads today, and they are considered to be significant sources of air pollution due to their use of diesel fuel. In many places, the engines in taxis and other public transportation vehicles are being upgraded to hybrid engines, allowing for use of alternative energies and a lower carbon footprint. Under the program, purchasers of the hybrid taxicabs will receive a subsidy for purchase of the vehicle, and an additional NIS 20,000 in tax credits.
In addition, two local authorities will be chosen for a new program that will entail the purchase of electric buses. Buses and other public vehicles, including each trash production truck in service, will be equipped with special filters that will reduce emissions by 97 percent.
The money will also be used to establish car-sharing programs in four Israeli cities. The cities will be provided with funds to develop an infrastructure for electric cars, which will then be deployed as part of a car-sharing program, where drivers use vehicles as needed and drop them off at a city-owned facility, paying for use by the hour. The money will be used to set up 2,000 recharging stations, at NIS 5,000 apiece. At least 800 vehicles will be included in the program.