The Truth About Cars » renault fluence The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Wed, 30 Jul 2014 10:00:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » renault fluence Ghosn Deals A Blow To Better Place Wed, 15 May 2013 17:14:35 +0000 swapstation4-450x300

Beleaguered EV start-up Better Place faced yet another blow this week, as Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn declared that rapid-charging, not swappable batteries, will be the predominant charging technology for EVs.

Israeli business outlet Globequotes Ghosn as saying

“When you look at the overall trends, we must conclude that replaceable batteries are no longer the main track for electric vehicles…The main trail is flat batteries in cars with charging. We believe that people want flexibility in the technology, and we can see that the demand is for rechargeable standard batteries.”

Ghosn stopped short of completely writing off Better Place and their battery-swap technology, but Ghosn made it clear that the focus would be elsewhere. Commercial fleets were one area where Ghosn identified potential demand for swappable batteries, due to a lack of downtime with charging the vehicles.

“There may be cases where people prefer replaceable batteries – as we have tried to include Israel and Denmark. Here we will continue to offer the Fluence with replaceable batteries. There may also be large companies, where they have a huge fleet of cars, and do not want to wait for charging. But it will not be the majority of the market, and going forward, our focus is on the charging technology, among other things look at our new Nissan Leaf.”

Increasingly efficient rapid-charging technology and a lack of demand for EVs has led to a downward spiral for Better Place’s fortunes. The company recently shuttered their American and Australian operations and gave founder Shai Agassi the boot.


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Better Place Shutters American, Australian Operations Fri, 08 Feb 2013 13:00:31 +0000

Better Place is shutting the doors of its Australian and American operations, and will concentrate on its Danish and Israeli divisions. The New York Times reported the news just days after Evan Thornley, head of Better Place Australia, left his post as CEO after just three months on the job.

Commeter Autobraz linked to this informative (and politically heavy-handed) article written by an Israeli expatriate over at Daily Kos regarding Better Place and some of the shenanigans that occurred since its inception. Rather than make a poor attempt at summarizing it, I highly recommend reading it for some added context. One example that sticks out is ex-founder Shai Agassi’s semi-symbolic ordering of 100,000 Renault Fluence EVs with swappable batteries. Meanwhile, Nissan has sold about 40,000 Leafs globally.

The author likes Agassi to Steve Jobs and BP to Apple, noting that without Agassi, the driving force behind BP is gone, and the company will likely follow suit. Arguably, the two also share a similar “reality distortion field” – a phenomenon that may work in consumer electronics, but rarely succeeds in the auto industry.


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Better Place CEO Resigns, Division’s Future Looks Bleak Wed, 30 Jan 2013 16:52:57 +0000

Better Place Australia’s future is in serious jeopardy after its CEO resigned, amid plans to restrict new investment to Israel and Denmark, Better Place’s main markets.

Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO (and a native of Australia), stepped down just three months into the job. A note released to his staff, obtained by The Australian, said:

“…in recent times, strong and honestly held differences have emerged at the most senior levels of the company about how we best take the company forward…I do not wish to be a barrier to that unity and so will step down and let the company transition to new leadership…”

Prior to the New Year, around a quarter of Better Place Australia’s staff was let ago, along with half of the company’s Israeli staff. Thornley’s resignation apparently comes over differences in strategy; with battery swap stations on the ground in Canberra, Australia’s capital city, Thornley’s hometown of Melbourne was next on the list. But with Better Place’s funding situation on shaky ground, the board decided to shift direction and focus on markets like Israel and Denmark, with significant infrastructure and cars that are compatible with BP’s network of battery swap stations.

Thornley relaced founder Shai Agassi as CEO of Better Place, after a dispute with chairman Idan Ofer led to Agassi’s ouster. Now, investors and observers in Israeli are growing frustrated with the company’s substantial cash burn and management changes. Aside from Better Place’s inherently risky nature as a start-up business, the industry seems to be shifting away from their prior EV enthusiasm, with hydrogen fuel-cells suddenly en vogue yet again.

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