In a move that thrilled Israeli opponents to foreign energy dependence as well as environmentalists across the country, 19 Israeli companies have signed cooperation agreements to test the suitability of electric cars for their company fleets in the first stage of the electric car program of Israeli venture-company Better Place.Apparently, OPEC had no direct comment--but they are probably watching:
Aiming to reduce global oil dependency and provide consumers with cleaner, sustainable personal transportation, Better Place employs swappable batteries, battery charging spots and battery exchange stations, and is aiming to operate its first electric car charging network in Israel and Denmark by 2011.
Israeli companies taking part in the test project represent Israeli high tech, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, finance, food, manufacturing and telecommunications industries. Participants include Israel Corporation, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Pelephone Communications, Partner Communications, Matrix IT, Direct Insurance- Financial Investments, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Netafim, Keter Plastics, Orbotech, Jafora Tabori, Manpower Israel, SQlink, Nike Israel, and Glasshouse Technologies.
The first stage of development will include designing and installing recharging points for company parking lots and employee homes.
Better Place CEO Shai Agassi called the program "the tip of the iceberg of global demand," saying he believes there is a potential global market of 50 million cars.
"These [OPEC] projects are on hold ... and will continue to be until the (oil) price recovers," OPEC Secretary General Salem El-Badri told journalists. And as a result of the project delays, OPEC will not be able to increase production capacity by all of the five million barrels a day by 2012 that was previously expected, said El-Badri.Such concerns are apparently not reciprocal, judging from the Oil Embargo of 1973.
El-Badri's comments came after United Arab Emirates Oil Minister Mohammad Al-Hamli warned that weak oil prices and economic recession are threatening longer-term spending on Middle East oil projects.
In the rush to undermine this oil rich region, and in the race to somehow break the addiction to "Arab oil," one shouldn't undermine the future of this energy-driven civilization.