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Page added on May 26, 2013

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Israeli Vision for Electric Car Fades as Better Place Pulls Plug

Business

Better Place LLC, the electric car venture backed by Israel’s President Shimon Peres as a way to wean the world off oil dependence, will shut down after failing to attract new investments.

Better Place, which in January 2012 started its first commercial roll-out with 100 electric cars to Israeli customers, filed a motion for liquidation with the Lod district court today, according to an e-mailed statement from the company. Billionaire Idan Ofer’s Israel Corp., the largest investor in the company with an about 30 percent stake, said in a separate statement its board decided against the investment.

“This is a difficult day for all of us,” said Dan Cohen, the company’s third CEO in just under a year. “Unfortunately, after a year’s commercial operation, it was clear to us that despite many satisfied customers, the wider public take-up would not be sufficient and that the support from the car producers was not forthcoming.”

The car’s low performance and relatively high price compared with conventional vehicles proved too big a hurdle as Better Place, founded by former SAP AG (SAP) executive Shai Agassi, failed to attract enough customers. The Palo Alto, California-based startup was in partnership with Renault SA (RNO) to build and operate electric-car charging networks and battery-exchanging stations and had raised $750 million since it was founded five years ago.

Bloomberg



9 Comments on "Israeli Vision for Electric Car Fades as Better Place Pulls Plug"

  1. c8 on Sun, 26th May 2013 10:08 pm 

    Perhaps this is a sign that the electric car future may not develop after all. I think MOST people have too many bad experiences with batteries failing in other devices at the wrong time and MOST(not all)feel squeamish about trusting their transportation to a battery.

  2. Plantagenet on Sun, 26th May 2013 10:34 pm 

    It doesn’t make sense to invest in electric cars when NG in Israel (and elsewhere) is abundant and cheap and NG car technology is developing quickly.

  3. John Orr on Sun, 26th May 2013 11:01 pm 

    Right place……earth…..wrong time!

  4. DC on Sun, 26th May 2013 11:07 pm 

    Gee didn’t see that one comeing….

    Better place never had a good business model. Its not that EV’s ‘dont work’ per se, but his kludgy, complex battery swap idea was a non-starter from the get-go.

    No, what would have worked, was extensive electrically powered RAIL, ie trams, better urban planning, bike, pedestrian friendly cities and design to reduce(or eliminate) car-dependency. EVs, even under ideal conditions, don’t do any of these things. They simply encourage more sprawl and more commuting.

  5. rollin on Sun, 26th May 2013 11:27 pm 

    I guess the “build it and they will come” business model did not work this time.

  6. GregT on Mon, 27th May 2013 12:08 am 

    “No, what would have worked, was extensive electrically powered RAIL, ie trams, better urban planning, bike, pedestrian friendly cities and design to reduce(or eliminate) car-dependency.”

    Hmmm, throw in some horse drawn carriages, and voila, 1800s all over again!

    But then again, we would need vast amounts of fossil fuels to make that happen, so I’m betting on the 1600s, or game over for the human ‘race’.

  7. BillT on Mon, 27th May 2013 12:52 am 

    “…The car’s low performance and relatively high price compared with conventional vehicles…”

    BINGO! High price in a bankrupt world.

    Swapping batteries would be like taking your car into the repair garage for a tuneup and they swap out your new motor for a highly used one. Only fools would think a major swap would work. But, it appears that there are more and more fools out there. Including the fools that ‘invested’ in this folly. Must be techies…lol. They never think out a solution. To them, if it is tech, it has to work.

  8. Arthur on Mon, 27th May 2013 8:42 am 

    The car should be the last concern in the society of the future as the car typically consumes 1000 times as much energy per unit of time as fridges, lamps, laptops and televisions. All renewable energy efforts should be directed at private households first: solar panels on every roof and a wind turbine near every village and a rationing infrastructure, so you can only use electricity when it is available. First things first.

  9. Kenz300 on Mon, 27th May 2013 4:15 pm 

    Buy a bicycle… it is cleaner, cheaper and healthier for you.

    17 Reasons Why Bicycles Are the Most Popular Vehicle in the World Today

    http://ecolocalizer.com/2008/06/16/17-reasons-why-bicycles-are-the-most-popular-vehicle-in-the-world-today/

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