Better Place Shutters American, Australian Operations

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
better place shutters american australian operations

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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7 of 10 comments
  • Crtfour Crtfour on Feb 08, 2013

    What kind of platform is that car on? Is it raising it off the ground?

    • See 1 previous
    • ClutchCarGo ClutchCarGo on Feb 08, 2013

      Presumably that's the battery swap platform. Battery swaps are supposed to be handled via automation underground when the driver needs to go farther than the current battery charge allows. This is intended to substitute for refueling an ICE.

  • Autobraz Autobraz on Feb 08, 2013

    What's disheartening is that I think Agassi had an excellent idea but the "Steve Jobs complex" put it all to waste.

  • ClutchCarGo ClutchCarGo on Feb 08, 2013

    I'm saddened to see this concept spiraling down this way. I was knocked out by the idea when I first read of it, but it seems that mismanagement and the enormity of the infrastructure build out leaves the plan unworkable.

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Feb 08, 2013

    The Daily Koss piece is extremely interesting. I had read about BP and Agassi about 5 years ago in a flattering piece on Wired magazine. At the time I believed that BP's battery swap idea was the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, reading this piece and others, it appears that it was mostly smoke and mirrors.