The Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality, headed by Mayor Ron Huldai, is putting together a strategic plan for electric transportation, with the goal of transferring a variety of vehicles in the city to electric propulsion and thereby reducing air pollution and noise. The municipality estimates that demand for electric cars will grow thanks to falling battery prices and improvements in the cars' range. This is an initial plan, that has not yet been budgeted, but in the long term it will have a dramatic effect on transport in Tel Aviv.
One of the proposals in the document is to forbid the entry of polluting vehicles into Tel Aviv in 2025. The measure will be gradual. Initially, by 2021, electric transportation will receive financial incentives. Between 2022 and 2025, the municipality will put the emphasis on electrification of large vehicle fleets. One further indication that the plan is in the initial stages is that it contains no definition of "polluting vehicle."
The municipality believes that the plan will receive central government finance and private investment, chiefly from companies in electric vehicle battery charging. The municipality is aware that statutory problems are liable to make it difficult to set up charging points and to delay the process.
The municipality is considering using electric cars for its AutoTel short-term car rental service. The venture, which has yet to be approved, will involve charging points in the street.
For buses, the municipality is examining how electric buses can be charged quickly, at final route stops and depots. Charging will be direct current or by supercapacitors. The plan for charging electric buses will be carried out in cooperation with central government, and will include school buses.
Tel Aviv-Yafo Deputy Mayor Meital Lehavi, who has responsibility for transport, told "Globes": "Our great difficulty in switching to electric transportation is to do with constructing transformers and positioning charging points for buses. Installing a transformer at a depot takes a year and a half. Installing charging points in public space is complicated, because building permits are required for them. Unless the state changes the regulations, the plan for equipping with electric buses probably cannot go ahead.
"Electrification should be a national goal. If installing every charging point takes months or years, we won't get far. Initially, regulations are required that can be advanced quickly in the Economic Arrangements Law. Looking further ahead, there needs to be a national outline plan for depots and public transport allowing for nationwide deployment. Tel Aviv is second in Israel for air pollution, after Bnei Brak, because of transport. First of all, we should deal with electrification of public transport. These vehicles travel a great deal and pollute the most. Give me and us the tools to change the situation."
Of 100 electric buses that were meant to operate in Tel Aviv by now, only 26 actually do so. According to Lehavi, this is because of a lack of charging infrastructure.
The transition to electric taxis will happen with the aid of government incentives. Until this happens, the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality plans an experiment in this area. Vehicle importer Carasso, which sells the Renault and Nissan brands in Israel, won a call for proposals by the Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources, and it will lead a trial in Tel Aviv in which 20-30 electric taxis will participate. In the trial, two rapid, 50-150 kWh charging points will be installed, as well as fourteen regular, 20-22 kWh points. The rapid charging points will be able to charge an electric car battery twice as fast as the slower points, or even faster.
The Ministry of National Infrastructures, Energy and Water Resources will provide half the project's NIS 4.8 million budget, and the Tel Aviv-Yafo municipality will provide NIS 400,000. The remainder will be financed by other players, among them Carasso, and perhaps taxi-hailing app companies such as Gett.
The aim of the trial is to demonstrate that electric taxis can be kept on the move without resorting to replacement batteries, using different types of charging - rapid charging during working hours and slow charging when the taxis are not in service. The Better Place venture, which tried to promote the electric car vision but collapsed, carried out similar trials in the Netherlands, Japan, and China.
Electric bikes and scooters
At the initial stage there is no plan to set up charging points for small shared vehicles such as electric bicycles and scooters. The municipality is focusing on preparing mandatory regulations for companies that hire out these vehicles. The subject of electric motorbikes is under review.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on May 27, 2019
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