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Sun May 26, 2013, 05:19 PM

Better Place - Pioneering Israeli Electric Car Company - Going Out Of Business

EDIT

The company, Better Place, started out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel's status as a global high-tech power, but it suffered from a local brand of hubris and overreach. On Sunday, it announced plans to liquidate after burning through almost a billion dollars and failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public. "This is a very sad day for all of us. We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies," the company said. "Unfortunately, the path to realizing that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome."

It capped a stunning fall from grace for Better Place and its founder Agassi, a former high-tech whiz kid who sought to change the world by building a revolutionary network of battery-swapping stations.

Agassi, 45, believed that in an era of global warming and rising oil prices, environmentally friendly electric cars could be the wave of the future, if only a way could be found to overcome the limited range of their batteries.

Better Place offered an elegant solution. The vast majority of travelers who commute short distances could plug in their cars at home or work each day to keep their batteries recharged. For longer distances, customers could stop at the swapping stations, remove their used battery and replace it with a fully charged one in a matter of minutes.

EDIT

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2013/05/26/world/middleeast/ap-ml-israel-electric-car.html?_r=0

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Reply Better Place - Pioneering Israeli Electric Car Company - Going Out Of Business (Original post)
hatrack May 2013 OP
NYC_SKP May 2013 #1
tinrobot May 2013 #3
wtmusic May 2013 #4
tinrobot May 2013 #5
wtmusic May 2013 #6
formercia May 2013 #2
Socialistlemur May 2013 #7
FogerRox May 2013 #8

Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 05:50 PM

1. Sad to hear this, it seemed a sound idea for infrastructure.

 

The swappable battery scheme made sense to me, two minute changes without leaving your car, right?

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Response to NYC_SKP (Reply #1)

Sun May 26, 2013, 09:02 PM

3. Except for the capital costs of creating the iinfrastructure

The swapping stations were complex, and the spare batteries were expensive. Ultimately, not a good business model.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #3)

Sun May 26, 2013, 11:34 PM

4. Hey, you sound like someone who *has* an electric car

and understands that ultrafast recharging is not the deal-ender that plagues the internal-combustion mindset.

But I'm probably just projecting.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #4)

Mon May 27, 2013, 01:31 AM

5. I have car that charges...

It doesn't charge as fast as a Tesla, but it still charges fast enough to be my daily driver. As you know, that's all that is needed.

I think Tesla has the right idea on this - bigger batteries and faster charging. I think the sweet spot is a 200-ish mile battery and sub-one hour fast charging. If someone can build an affordable car with those specs, gas cars will become history.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #5)

Mon May 27, 2013, 10:02 AM

6. Agree.

Sub-one hour fast charging is already here - at 480V the Leaf will charge to 80% in under 1/2 hour. It's hard on the battery, but along with battery improvements I expect to see parallel fast charging (two or more cables accessing different cells of the battery) being part of the solution.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 06:18 PM

2. In Spain

There are charging stations for a fleet of electric Motor Bikes. When you park, you can leave it at the Parking Lot/ Charging Station, plug-in your Bike, so that when you return, it's topped-off and the electricity used is automatically charged you your account.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 10:54 AM

7. This electric car technology isn't practical

This was a Rube Goldberg design. And it can't be applied large scale right now because we don't have enough lithium resources.

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Response to hatrack (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 04:25 PM

8. Battery swapping theory goes back at least 45 years

I meet this old retired "crazzy" engineer type in NJ who claims he patented it in the 1960's.

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