Better Place customers are being handed a new option for dealing with their battery charging woes. Just Park It, a startup social network application for locating convenient places to park the car, is offering drivers of electric Better Place vehicles the opportunity to locate spots to recharge their batteries.
As long as the spots remain operated by Better Place, which is currently undergoing liquidation, customers can use them to "fill up" by swiping their membership cards. In the future, however, the mode of operation is likely to change.
Better Place customers are preparing for the likelihood that the company's battery-switching stations will soon be shut down, turning long-distance driving into a prohibitive ordeal. Recharging the car's battery after every 100 kilometers driven can take as long as eight hours.
The association of electric car owners held a demonstration in support of continuing the company's operations on Friday in a call for government assistance. A motorcade began at Glilot Junction and ended in the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Hadar Yosef.
Meanwhile, Better Place customers received a letter Thursday from the Israel Electric Corporation saying that electricity supplied to their cars will from now on be included in their electricity bill. Customers had a contract whereby battery recharging for their cars was separate from their household use and paid by Better Place. Not only will customers now foot the bill themselves, they'll also be charged for electricity used in the past that wasn't paid up by Better Place. But while they could now save on their monthly bills – household electricity rates are lower than what Better Place charged them – they will actually be paying double since their monthly payment installments to Better Place are still going through.