Renault to develop electric cars for Israel project
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Renault-Nissan said on Monday it signed a deal to begin mass producing electric cars as part of an Israeli-led project to develop alternative energy sources.
Renault-Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn said electric vehicles will be available in Israel from 2011.
"It will be the most environmentally friendly mass-produced car on the market," Ghosn said at a ceremony at Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's office.
The initial $200 million investment in the project is led by holding company Israel Corp and includes investment bank Morgan Stanley and private investors.
Israel Corp, which will invest $100 million in the project, said it had signed agreements with the other investors.
The Ofer family, which controls Israel Corp, will invest $30 million through a private company while the other investors will put in $70 million.
The project, named Better Place, is headed up by former SAP executive Shai Agassi.
Better Place will also build an electric recharge grid across Israel.
Nissan, through a joint venture with Japan's NEC, has created a battery pack that meets the requirements of the electric vehicle and will mass produce it.
A prototype of the car is already on the road in Israel.
The car will have a range of about 100 kilometers in city driving and up to 160 km for highway driving.
Ghosn said the car will accelerate from zero to 100 km in 13 seconds and could reach a top speed of 110 km per hour.
(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen and David Holmes)