Israelis Are Ready for Electric Cars – With Conditions

This 2014 file photo shows a 2014 Chevy Volt plug-in in Hart County, Ky. (AP Photo/Samuel Avery)

Israelis are prepared to buy electric cars, but only on condition that they can recharge them at home, a poll by the Energy Ministry published in Yisrael Hayom shows. The poll of 1,290 drivers showed that while 9% were prepared to buy an electric vehicle right now, 87% would not do so unless they could install a recharging station in or near their homes. 77.5% would like to have a station near their place of work as well. Currently, recharging of electric vehicles must be done at filling stations that have connections for electric cars.

Israel was home to Better Place, a multi-billion dollar company that sought to popularize electric cars in Israel. The company went bankrupt, however, after burning through some $6 billion in funding. Among the main reasons the effort did not take off, subsequent studies showed, was that recharging could only take place at designated charging stations, where the vehicle’s battery would be switched for a fresh one. The vehicles also had a range of less than 200 kilometers per battery, and that, too, was seen as a negative, as many gas-powered vehicles can travel between 300 and 400 kilometers between fill-ups.

When asked what, besides charging at home, would persuade them to buy electric cars, drivers responded by pointing out the hour or so that it took to recharge cars; they would like batteries that charge in no more than 30 minutes, according to the poll. In addition, they would like vehicles with a range of at least 350 kilometers between charges.

To encourage more drivers to switch to electric, the Ministry is allocating NIS 25 million for the development of a recharging network for vehicles. Over 2,000 public charging points will be installed, with the points rolled out over the next three years. The Ministry is also discussing the possibility of requiring new buildings to install recharging points as part of their construction, officials said.

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