'Better Place' EV startup liqudating assets...

'Better Place' EV startup liqudating assets...$850-million-investment/

It was a neat idea, however, most first world nations take pride in what they drive, and IF you want the masses to buy an EV, it has to be more tha just green, it HAS to be better than the BEST vehicles available (looks, performance, amenites, options, etc). Again, proof why Tesla is succeeding while others are failing.

Mark K | May 26, 2013

A great case study. Noble intentions, but the model of giving up your own pack for something of unknown provenance doesn't work.

It's one reason many of us believe Tesla's swap plan is for an extra range pack, not the main pack.

Hope we find out soon.

Andre-nl | May 26, 2013


Better place was purely about battery swap, not ev's. Afaik the LEAF is not the best vehicle, but is still on sale.

The reason why Better Place failed has nothing to do with being the best vehicle or something, but car manufacturers not wanting to give up design freedom to a 3rd party that would dictate the battery format.

Brian H | May 26, 2013

Which Renault tried to finesse by collaborating, but that wasn't enough.

bradslee | May 27, 2013

Better Place is NOT an EV company. It is an EV usage management company like a cell phone carrier rather than a cell phone maker. Neither Better Place makes EV (Renault did it for Israeli customers at a super low price) nor it produces any batteries (many battery makers produce different kind of car batteries for Renault EV cars). Better Place does build infrastructure of battery swap stations across Israel for Renault EV cars. Better Place, like a cell phone carrier, sells mileage of battery usage to Renault EV car customers and manages the customer usage of their Renault EV cars via on board computer system informing the driver the usage of the car battery and when to stop at a battery swap station to swap a new battery. Each battery swap station has a capacity to handle almost 50 different kind of car batteries for swapping.

I visited Better Place headquarter in Israel and spoke to the top managers in July 2012. They admitted that Better Place technically speaking was not an EV company. Interestingly, they told me then that Tesla is actually the best EV company in the world.

Andre-nl | May 27, 2013


Well, Renault sort-of cooperated but there was no real love. The Fluence is not an attractive vehicle (an adapted ICE), and afaik they never had any plans to offer battery swap on their most high profile EV, the Zoe. That decision sealed the fate of BP.

Robert22 | May 27, 2013

Any chance Elon might swoop in and pick up some pack-swapping equipment from Better Place at firesale prices? Perhaps he was waiting for Better Place to declare bankruptcy before he could make his announcement and it took longer than expected? Then again, Better Place doesn't have any equipment on this continent does it. Oh well.

Brian H | May 28, 2013

50 kinds of battery for swapping? Holy short circuit, Batman! The inventory per station would be ruinous.

jat | May 28, 2013

@MarkK - I think the only way battery swap works when you own the battery is if you rent another and pick yours up on the way back.

Alternatively, you would have to have very good models of battery life, and a market for trading batteries -- ie, I have a score 13471 battery and I traded it for a score 12090 battery, so my account receives $27.32. If you could actually model it that carefully, that would also eliminate the concern about battery life, as you wouldn't have to replace your whole battery at once at end-of-life, you could incrementally upgrade it (as Tesla pulled out used-up batteries from the pool, maybe using them in 60kWh cars).

@Robert22 - it seems highly unlikely that anything BP has would be useful, as the batteries are quite different shape/size/chemistry, not to mention the cooling connections in the Tesla.

alfalfa82 | May 28, 2013

People, you are missing the point on what better place tried to do and why it failed,
better place wanted to tackle the biggest issues with EV,

range anxiety, the car can go about 60-100 Miles on the battery, as we all know, more then enough for 95% of uses, and if needed you have battery swap stains to switch the battery to a charged one, in israel the company built 40 stations.

price, as we know the price of the battery is a big hurdle in reducing the price of EV, so better place decided that you will buy the car with out battery, this way they reduced the entry point in US equivalent to just under $30,000 for the car,
now, better place own the batteries, and what they actually sell you is miles,
they had plans of monthly commitment, or pay as you go with minimum,
better place also for the price of the car installed in your house and work place the charging station,
and managed the charging, you can not connect your car directly to any charging station, you have to use better place one, but why wouldn't you, you pay by mile so who cares.
so basically they took most of the saving on the electricity to them self, but also took the most expense, by buying all the batteries, paying for the electricity, building all the charging stations and building the swapping stations
nice idea they just choose the wrong country do start, if they would have tried to do it in a country like Norway, it could have been a big success,

jkirkebo | May 28, 2013

No it wouldn't. The Better Place model requires battery leasing which we are VERY sceptical towards here in Norway. Renault tries here, with very little success. The battery leasing model completely wipes out the EVs biggest advantage, cheap fuel.

Also the country is large and sparsely populated.

RZitrin1 | May 28, 2013

As I posted on the "Better Place Kaput" thread, I've never been impressed with the idea.

"This program, which generated a lot of press and buzz for what (IMO) was a foolish idea - battery swaps that would have required the same kind of batteries as the Renaults, with whom they joint-ventured - was considered an important Israeli step into the lower-oil-dependency era.

"Better they should have gone Tesla's and Elon's way."

Brian H | May 29, 2013

If Tesla does it, it will retain rigid control over the form factor, so as not to have to deal with the zoo of options BP thought it could manage.