In reporting on a $350 million funding round for Better Place, we said that we doubted another automaker besides Nissan-Renault is building vehicles that would work with the company's battery-swapping system. Might a report in Globes prove us wrong? According to the Israeli business news site, the "Chinese media" has disclosed that the Chery-Quantum joint venture (a 50 percent stake of which is held by Israel Corp., Better Place's chief investor) is designing a compact electric jeep at a studio in Milan code-named T21. Said jeep would have a "double floor" that will accommodate a swappable battery they suggest may use cells from A123 and generally resemble a small version of the Chery Tiggo. Got all that? Is it true?

While we finally had to admit defeat in finding a Chinese media outlet discussing a creature exactly as described by Globes, we did find reference to a T21. From what we can tell from those reports, the T21 is not a jeep and not electric. Heck, it's not even designed in Milan. According to the Chinese media sites (via Google translate) that we checked out, the T21 is actually a compact SUV dubbed the Chery Tiggo 5 (pictured above), designed in Turin, that had been axed but is now being put back on the menu. Now, perhaps there is a stone out there big enough to hide a jeep under that we left unturned but all signs seem to point this Better Place battery-swapper to be non-existent, though if you can prove otherwise, we'd be happy to hear about it.

As far as we know, plans are still in place for Chery to sell some eco-friendly cars, beginning with the electric S18 (though it may now be called the Riich M1 EV) as early as this June. And its batteries don't swap.

[Source: Globes / Gasgoo]

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