Israeli Scientist Questions Environmental Benefits of Better Place Electric Cars

Dan Rabinowitz contends that higher levels of greenhouse gases charging electric car batteries.

Published: 11-Dec-2009

Shai Agassi's firm, Better Place, which is developing the infrastructure to accommodate electric cars in Israel, is presenting a new electric car to the delegates at the UN Climate Change Conference currently underway in Copenhagen.

Among other questions, the company is being asked to explain the ecological advantage of a battery-powered car, which doesn't cause pollution when operated, over pollution created through the generation of electricity required to charge the car's battery. As of this week, Better Place's response can be found in a report prepared by Dr. Bernanda Flicstein, an air pollution expert, which says the use of electric cars would reduce total air pollution and potentially create economic benefits of up to hundreds of millions of euros a year.

By contrast, Dan Rabinowitz, an environmental expert at Tel Aviv University, contends that - at this time - higher levels of greenhouse gases are emitted as a result of electricity being generated to charge car batteries than is produced by the actual operation of a conventional car.


TREV two-place electric car

Student-built vehicle can do 0-60 in 10 seconds with top speed of 75 mph. Photo courtesy of University of South Australia.

Better Place prototype charger on San Francisco street.

Electric car companies are finding a friendly reception as they push West Coast states and cities for incentives and infrastructure investments.

Cape Town-based Optimal Energy developed the six-place, all-electric Joule.

2010 has been set as the target date for many electric vehicles to enter large-scale production worldwide.


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