KIRYAT EKRON, Israel, March 24 (UPI) -- Israel's Better Place electric car company inaugurated its first battery-changing station with plans to build 40 more in the coming year.
At the demonstration in Kiryat Ekron Wednesday, a car drove over a sliding panel and a robotic arm replaced drained batteries with fully charged ones in 5 minutes, Israel's Channel Ten reported.
Charging batteries takes about 6 hours and provides 185 kilometers (116 miles) of travel but the switch can be made on the run during lengthy car trips, driver Oved Ladzinsky told The Jerusalem Post.
The computerized system on the dashboard of the car informs the driver when the car needs charging, he said.
Moshe Kaplinsky, the company's chief executive officer in Israel, said the company has also erected 1,000 functional charging spots for cars and thousands more will be created by the end of the year, the newspaper said.
"The solution is here. It is ready for national deployment. It is here, it is working and it is available," Kaplinsky told a news conference, adding all environmental and ecological standards have been met.
In February, the company opened its first electric vehicle demonstration center in Israel and announced the signing of 92 corporate fleet owners as well as a partnership with Israel gas operators Dor Alon to build battery switch stations at its facilities.
The company plans to introduce cars for commercial launch in Israel and Denmark next year, the company Web site said.