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Battery swapping initiative gone to a Better Place

Wed, 05/29/2013 - 18:36 -- Ruth Williams

Israeli electric car manufacturer Better Place has filed for bankruptcy in court after selling just 1300 cars across Israel and Denmark over the last two years.Better Place of Israel

The company was founded six years ago by Shai Agassi to make EVs that overcame range anxiety by having their batteries swapped for fresh ones when they ran out to enable long distance journeys.

The idea did not catch on. The company spent an estimated US$850 million in funding since its launch but failed to establish the necessary network of battery exchange stations.

"The path to realising that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles," the board of Better Place said in a statement.

The concept had looked promising: Renault was onboard to develop the swappable battery terminals; US$850 million was raised from investors to progress the company; and the company's value peaked at US$2.25 billion two years ago. The intention was build 100 000 cars for the fleet operator market in Israel and Denmark, before rolling out the concept to China, Australia and the US.