Israel Corporation (TASE: ILCO) is working on the development and manufacture of a line of electric cars, which will serve Better Place LLC, led by Shai Agassi, and other ventures within 3-4 years. The cars will also have a gasoline engine model based on the engine of the platform which will made by Chery-Quantum LLC, a joint venture between Israel Corp. and Chery Automobile Company Co. Ltd.
Development and design of the cars is being carried out by international car engineering and design subcontractors, including Austria's Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik AG & Co KG and Italy's Italdesign - Giugiaro SpA. In the first stage, which is scheduled to be completed by October 2010, they will develop the technical and engineering concept for four models, which will have the rear-wheel drive and options for electric propulsion that will apparently support Better Place's rapid battery replacement system.
The models include the Chery urban compact CF1X, family sedan CF11, the hatchback based on the same chassis CF14, and the compact road-off road recreation vehicle CF16.
€37.2 million in being invested in the first stage.
In the second stage, which is due to be completed between September 2012 and the second quarter of 2013, Magna Steyr and Italdesign - Giugiaro will develop all the technical and performance specifications for mass production of cars at the Chery-Quantum plant, which will be built in China at an investment of €120 million. The estimated development cost of the second stage is €170 million.
Israel Corp. estimates that in order to begin mass production of the electric cars, it will require an additional €400 million in outside financing, which it will obtain from banks and government grants.
Better Place's only current electric car is the Renault Fluence. Industry sources believe that Renault has imposed numerous restrictions on the global marketing of the car, which is why a source of cars from Israel Corp., which currently owns 40% of Better Place, is a critical factor for the venture's business development.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 6, 2010
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