Israeli star company Better Place unveiled on Sunday the first electric car it will sell to the Israel market – the Renault Fluence ZE. The vehicle, whose basic price will be $35,265 (122,900 NIS) excluding the necessary service package, will go on sale from mid-July and the first orders are expected to be ready to hit the roads by the end of this year.
Four years after Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi founded the venture-backed company, with the aim of reducing global dependency on oil, Israel will become, along with Denmark, the first country in which Better Place’s rechargeable, zero emission vehicles will be sold commercially.
On Sunday the Fluence and pricing plan were unveiled by Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinsky, Renault EV Program Director Thierry Koskas and other company representatives at a press conference in Tel Aviv. Afterward, members of the press took the vehicles out for the first-ever test drives in the city.
In addition to the standard Fluence, a luxury version of the vehicle will also go on sale, which will include leather seats and other accessories, costing NIS 129,900.
The standard accessories of the Fluence includes a computerized driving and energy management system, built-in GPS navigation system, online connection to a 24- hour customer service center, four-year manufacturer’s warranty, split climate control air conditioning, cruise control and automatic lights.
Buyers will be given a choice of a variety of service packages, ranging from 20,000 kilometers usage per year to 30,000 km. usage per year.
The service packages include installation and maintenance of a home recharging station, free access to Better Place’s battery replacement stations and road-side service. The company says it will guarantee four year fixed-price packages, with no exit fees for customers who sell their car and leave the plan.
The 20,000 km. package will cost $312 (NIS 1,090) per month, including VAT; while the 30,000 km. plan will cost $ 459 (NIS 1,599) per month. The cost of each extra kilometer over the monthly limit will vary between $0.24 and $0.29 (NIS 0.85 to NIS) 1 per kilometer.
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There will also be a onetime, three-year subscription, which offers the vehicle, service package and up to 25,000 km. a year of travel for an all-inclusive price of $45193 (NIS 157,500.)
According to the company, the package will cut the cost of vehicle maintenance by 20 percent, compared to the average gasoline-powered family car.
Better Place presented its estimates at the press conference, which showed that the 20,000 km. package will cost NIS 2,000 less each year the cost of gasoline (at its current price) for the equivalent mileage; insurance will cost NIS 1000 less than for a gasoline- based vehicle; and maintenance and warranty savings will strip another NIS 1000 from the overall cost.
Vehicle owners will need either private parking, or a marked space in a public parking lot, to recharge their vehicle.
When members of the media asked officials about the designated tax increase on the vehicle slated for 2015 and 2020, Better Place responded that in four years it would be positioned to ensure that costs to customers will remain unchanged.
Watch Better Place’s green taxiproject in Japan: