• Sep 25th 2010 at 1:18PM
  • 6
General Electric, which recently unveiled its electric vehicle (EV) charger called the WattStation, has teamed up with battery swap specialist Better Place to accelerate the adoption of a global EV infrastructure. The duo will attack the industry on all fronts. Under the partnership, GE and Better Place will develop a battery financing program that kicks off with a pilot project providing funds for 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark. This project is expected to boost consumer interest in EVs and, potentially, help bring 10,000 battery-powered vehicles to the two countries.

The duo will push for the electrification of corporate fleets and looks to launch pilot projects in key North American markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ontario, Canada, as well as in cities across Europe, Asia and Australia.

The final agreement stemming from the partnership aims at promoting global charging standards. GE and Better Place will push for compatibility and charging uniformity on the global level. GE's WattStation will be adapted to fit Better Place's service network and the companies will promote standards that "guarantee drivers can 'roam' from one charge point to another under one seamless transaction for faster charging and a more convenient experience." Sounds good to us. Hat tip to Mattias!

[Source: Better Place]

PRESS RELEASE

GE and Better Place Partner to Accelerate EV Infrastructure Deployment


September 22, 2010

New York City (September 22, 2010) – GE (NYSE: GE) and Better Place, a leading electric vehicle (EV) services provider, today announced a technology and financing partnership to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure through collaboration in four key areas: standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.

The partnership combines GE's global scale, broad technology portfolio, smart grid expertise, and its new WattStation™ electric vehicle charger with Better Place's EV services and infrastructure solution to create scalable solutions that power electric vehicles for nearly all consumers and fleet owners.

"GE values the power of collaboration and this partnership with Better Place is about large and small companies aggregating their strengths to advance electric vehicle infrastructure deployment," said Beth Comstock, GE senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "By integrating our WattStation with this service solution, we can help digital energy transform our roadways and provide a cleaner, more sustainable transportation alternative."

"Almost three years ago, Better Place identified the transformation from oil to electricity as the last massive 'digitization' of energy, and a significant economic opportunity globally," said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. "Our collaboration with GE is another significant step forward for Better Place as we seek to assemble a formidable ecosystem of industry leaders including Renault, HSBC and now GE that can help us scale our model globally. Our team of partners is committed to accelerating the acceptance of electric cars as more affordable and more convenient than our gasoline heritage."

The partnership includes collaboration in four areas:

1. Standards-based technology: GE's WattStation™ will be compatible with the Better Place network. Under the Better Place model, the ownership of the car and battery is separated, allowing EV drivers to avoid the heavy up-front cost of the battery and instead pay for miles and a more convenient, cleaner solution for personal transport. This partnership will allow consumers that manage charging costs under Better Place's network to easily charge their vehicles using GE's WattStation. Establishing charging uniformity for electric vehicle drivers, guarantees drivers can "roam" from one charge point to another under one seamless transaction for faster charging and a more convenient experience.

2. Battery Financing: GE and Better Place will develop a battery financing program that begins with a pilot project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark, which are the first two markets for Better Place. This financing will further drive the early EV market in those countries, helping to bring the first 10,000 electric cars to consumers there.

3. Fleet Electrification: GE and Better Place are collaborating to target fleet owners for pilot projects to test a comprehensive fleet electrification offering model in major city centers and connecting highways. The goal is to convert corporate fleet owners to electric fleets, so owners reap both the economic benefits of lower cost of ownership as well as reducing harmful carbon emissions.

Target pilot locations include cities in North America, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ontario, Canada, as well as cities in Europe, Asia and Australia. Better Place is already working towards initial network deployments in these markets, beginning in 2011.

4. Consumer Awareness: Better Place and GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, will focus on raising consumer awareness to understand the economic and environmental value of widespread adoption of electric transport and the infrastructure that is needed so make that level of adoption a reality.

###

About GE's ecomagination
GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched "GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid", a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in building the next-generation power grid. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at http://ge.ecomagination.com/index.html

About Better Place
Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at http://www.betterplace.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 8 Months Ago
      If Better Place owns the battery, shouldn't it be much
      cheaper to buy a car without a battery? Would that
      solve the up-front expense that prevents many who
      would opt for an EV, but cannot afford to buy an EV?

      Sell EVs without the battery & let B.P. own and lease
      them (at a reasonable price-point, of course).
        • 8 Months Ago
        'If Better Place owns the battery, shouldn't it be much
        cheaper to buy a car without a battery? '

        That's what they are doing. Renault is selling the cars for around the same as a diesel car, after subsidy.
        We have not got details of exact prices in Israel and Denmark yet, for the Fluence which is the one which you can battery swap on, but on the Kangoo the battery is leasing for around £75 pm.
        • 8 Months Ago
        BP has stalled as a quick battery swap system. Still only one car (Renault Fluence Z.E.), still only Denmark and Israel.

        Independent of their battery swap tech, BP might work as a battery leasing company. Better Place could lease other cars' batteries, so long as there is some way to remove the battery "sheets".

        BP is still very vague on home recharging. If you pay BP for the depreciation/rental/lease/minutes/whatever the hell they sell, *and* you pay for the electricity to recharge, a lot of customers will go "WTF?". The "EVs are cheap to `refuel'" benefit is gone. And trying to explain and arrange a three-way finance deal between the customer, the car company, and BP just seems fraught with problems. (But what do I know, I've never leased anything.)

        GE are huge in lease financing. They lease jet engines, modular buildings, entire transport fleets, etc. Sometimes they own what they lease, but often not.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Also, upon termination of the lease,
        say, 2 years, nothing should prevent
        you from getting a battery-lease
        arrangement from a competing
        battery supplier, keeping the
        process competitive.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Own & lease the batteries, I mean. When you buy a Renault/Nissan,
        you buy the shell - - - and enter into a lease agreement upon sale for
        a specified length of time at a predetermined price, whose terms cannot
        change for the life of the lease.
      • 8 Months Ago
      EV batteries like other new technologies will become much less expensive after the initial rollouts. If the batteries become cheap enough, and quickly enough, then i'm sorry to say, that BP's model might fail. Sorry GE.

      The same goes for EV infrastructure, which is expected to decrease in price by 50% over the next few years. This is the arbitrage BP plans on banking from. BP will essentially own a consumers EV for its lifespan, and at some point BP will begin to profit. The big question is will they be able to capture a large enough market in an early market to stick around? And with so many new EV's who are not participating with BP, how will this happen? The first rollout of EV's may be owned by BP', but after the technology (lithium ion/iron batteries) goes down in cost, and new EV's who aren't working with BP are released, why go with BP? And with the current BP model why pay more for a kWH than what it actually costs (unnecessary networking costs)?

      ???some one enlighten me??? because i'm seeing a huge startup failure (same goes for coulomb, and some other infrastructure companies)
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