Shai Agassi's Dream Has Gone To A Better Place

The death of the Renault Fluence ZE earlier this year marked the final chapter in the story of Better Place, the failed Israeli start-up that attempted to bring battery-swappable electric cars to the mainstream.

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Plug Pulled as Renault Fluence Z.E. Goes to a Better Place

A Renault spokesman has confirmed to Just-Auto that the company has discontinued assembly of the electric version of the Fluence, the Fluence Z.E. The Fluence Z.E. was built in the OYAK-Renault’s plant in the Turkish city of Bursa.

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Tesla Confirms Battery Swap For Model S

Tesla’s long-rumored battery swap technology will get its first reveal Thursday night, according to a Tweet from Elon Musk himself.

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Another One Bites The Dust: Better Place Bankrupt

Better Place “filed a motion in an Israeli court to wind up the company, bringing an end to a venture whose battery charging network had aimed to boost electric car sales,” Reuters says.

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Ghosn Deals A Blow To Better Place

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.

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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.

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Better Place CEO Resigns, Division's Future Looks Bleak

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.

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Tel Aviv In A Twizy Over Car Sharing

After launching a successful bicycle sharing service, Tel Aviv is looking to launch an electric car program using the same model, as a means of reducing private car ownership.

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Better Place Not A Good Investment

Shai Agassi thought Better Place was the secret sauce to spice up electric vehicle sales: Swappable batteries as a service, the answer to high battery prices (hidden in a pay-as-you-go model,) range anxiety and long charge times. Instead, Better Place emerges as a novel way to destroy money. Better Place posted third-quarter loss of $71.2 million, greater than $65.8 million a year earlier. The total loss for the January to September period stands at $203 million, Reuters says. Better Place accumulated losses of $561.5 million.

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Shai Agassi Ousted From Better Place

Shai Aggasi, the visionary behind the Better Place EV battery swap network, has been ousted, with Better Place Australia’s CEO replacing Agassi as global CEO.

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Will Natural Gas Prevent Us From Reaching A Better Place?

A brief piece in the Wall Street Journal’s “Dealbook” discussed the potential of natural gas powered vehicles, largely as a way to stop falling prices for natural gas.

One hope for many natural gas producers reeling from collapsing prices is wider adoption of natural-gas-powered cars.

The biggest hurdle so far: lack of infrastructure to refuel them.

But Steven Mueller, CEO of Southwestern Energy, says if 10% of passenger cars were powered by natural gas, gasoline prices would fall by $1.60/gallon and gas producers would get 4 billion cubic feet/day in demand.

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Better Place Places One Foot Into China

China has big plans for the electrification of its cars. After spending a whole day at Beijing’s airport a week ago, waiting for the smog (not the “fog” as it was officially called) to clear, all I can say: “Get on with it.” (Unless the electrification results in more smoke-belching coal-fired powerplants.) Better Place, the company that wants to swap the battery in your EV in the same time it would take to pour gas in your car, always wanted to have a piece of the Chinese action. Now, at least there is a first step into China. Today, China’s Southern Power Grid (CSG) and Better Place opened their “Switchable Electric Car Experience Center” in China’s southern city of Guangzhou.

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Better Place Opens First European Battery Swap Station, Expands To Australia

Though it doesn’t get the play it deserves in the auto media, Project Better Place is one of the most ambitious, potentially disruptive plays anywhere in the world of cars, uniquely positioning itself to eliminate the biggest shortcomings of electric vehicles. TTAC was on hand when the “end-to-end” EV services firm opened its first battery swap station in Israel, and now the firm has launched its first European swap station in Denmark. Better Place’s single model, the Renault Fluence Z.E won’t be widely available in either of the two initial launch markets until later this year, but having sold over 70,000 of its initial order of 100k units from Renault, Better Place is keeping its foot on the gas… er, juice.

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Better Place Signs Contract In China

Things have been a little quiet around Better Place and their battery switching solution. Everybody is waiting for their Denmark and Israel projects to finally take off. The promised land of EVs of course is China: A huge population, a large untapped car market, and a government that gets nervous when thinking about long and perilous supply lines of foreign oil. The Chinese government demands EVs from its automakers, and just about each had a prototype or more at the Shanghai Auto Show that had a plug and a cord. Just don’t ask when you can buy one.

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Inside Israel's First Battery Swap Station

When Better Place launched their Visitor Center in Tel Aviv, the attending journalists’ fingers couldn’t keep up with all the numbers and the promises flogged by the company chiefs: tens of battery switch stations to be built, hundreds of charging stations to be deployed and a thousand cars to be sold to Israeli customers each month.

Just over a year has passed since these statements made air, and in typical Israeli fashion – most of the goals were not met. Despite promising to begin delivery of cars in the beginning of 2011, Better Place has not sold a single car over the four months that passed since New Year’s Eve. And the number of battery switch stations built in Israel was – you guessed it – exactly zero. Until now.

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  • FreedMike I don’t know if I buy into the “they’re coming for our cars” stuff - they’ve been saying that for a long time now - but I wouldn’t argue with one word of this review otherwise.
  • Oberkanone It's not a Jimny! Would be nice if we still had a selection of Suzuki auto in the US. Sidekick was simple and affordable.
  • Dave M. I will say this generation styling has grown on me; previously I thought the Fiat version was far better looking. Miatas have always been pure joy to drive.
  • Kendahl A Tesla feature has been free, periodic, over-the-air, software updates that add new features or improve existing ones. Owners brag that their x-year-old car is better today, because of the updates, than it was brand new. Will Tesla start charging for these updates after a few years? Teslas hold their value very well. I suspect losing free updates will do serious damage to that.
  • BklynPete When I was a kid, the joke about Nissan choosing the name Datsun goes like this:Nissan execs were uncomfortable with the World War 2 connotations of their name in the North American market. Seeing how successful VW was over here, they went to VW's most-recent German ad agency. The Japanese told the Germans they needed a new name. The Germans agreed. They asked the Nissan execs when they wanted a review of potential names. The execs said two weeks. The German ad people said, "dat soon?"I will be crucified.