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Better Place unveils plans for 9 stations in Israel

The company has revealed the locations for the first nine EV battery-charging stations. It plans to have 40 commercial locations in Israel by the end of this year.

Better Place announced yesterday details of its plan to open a series of electric-vehicle charging stations in Israel.

The company offers EV charging stations that, through a subscription service, give electric-vehicle owners the option of a quick battery swap instead of plugging in and waiting for their car's battery to charge over time. It takes only a minute to make the swap. The depleted batteries are then recharged and used in other cars, according to Better Place.

An EV charging station outside of the Better Place Center in Israel, which offers test drives and educational tools to promote battery-swapping and electric vehicles. Better Place

The service may be seen by some as a substantial convenience considering it takes 15 to 30 minutes to recharge an EV battery pack to 80 percent capacity from a rapid-charging station depending on the vehicle, and even longer from a standard home outlet.

Better Place announced that it will have 40 of these commercial battery-switching stations in Israel by the end of 2011.

It revealed the locations for the first nine stations: Be'er Sheva, Beit Shean, Bilu Junction, Hadera, Kiryat Ekron, Mahanaim, Mitzpeh Ramon, Modi'in, and Yavne. Over 27 Israeli municipalities have also signed agreements with Better Place to develop charging spots in centrally located areas, according to the company.

In conjunction with its service, Better Place has a software platform that integrates GPS with a car's computer to monitor electricity use, and inform drivers of the range left in their car battery as well as the closest Better Place charging station.

Earlier this month those who lease or purchase the Renault's new all-electric Fluence Z.E. will be offered a special subscription plan.

Renault is launching its Renault Fluence Z.E. in Israel and Denmark this year, and has worked with Better Place to promote the idea of battery-swapping. Better Place announced yesterday it will also be in partnership with Renault in Israel.

Pricing for customers in Israel was not announced, but the Denmark figures give an idea of the kinds of pricing models they might expect.

Updated on March 28 to clarify that battery-swapping stations do not offer fast charging.