Thursday, November 15, 2007

Renault mulls Israeli electric car plant

BusinessWeek is reporting that French carmaker Renault SA is studying a possible plan to build a manufacturing plant for electric cars in Israel.

Renault is exploring a potential partnership with Israeli entrepreneur and high-tech star Shai Agassi, company spokeswoman Rochelle Chimenes said on Wednesday.

Agassi and his partner Idan Ofer have founded an eco-minded joint venture called Project Better Place, aimed at helping reduce greenhouse emissions by building a network of charging stations for electric cars across Israel.

Israeli-born Agassi, a former executive of software maker SAP AG, said October 29 he had raised $200m. in initial funding from Morgan Stanley, Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners and private investors including Edgar Bronfman Sr. and James Wolfensohn, former head of the World Bank.

If Renault decides to get involved, an agreement could be signed in the first half of 2008, Chimenes said.

Last week, Globes reported that the car at the heart of the project will be based on the Renault Megane, which will be equipped with high-performance electric engine based on advanced fuel cells.