Those who scoff at the metric system may belittle any publicity related to kilometers covered instead of miles, but we're still pretty impressed.

Better Place, which is trying to build out an infrastructure for electric vehicles based on the cell phone model of leased batteries that are swapped out, says it's vehicles have surpassed one million kilometers (625,000 miles) driven by using battery-swapping stations in Israel and Denmark.

The company, which has an agreement with French automaker Renault to use its Fluence Z.E. EVs for the project, is delivering about five new cars per day to Israeli customers for the purpose of trying out the process. Better Place operates 55 switching stations in Israel and Denmark that have processed about 15,000 battery swaps.

As of late January, Better Place, which was founded in 2007, had raised about $750 million in funding. At that time, Bloomberg reported that the company would likely go public within two years to get more funding in order to expand its battery-swapping infrastructure as more people buy electric vehicles. Read more in the press release below.
Show full PR text
Better Place Logs One Million Electric Kilometers

May 30, 2012

Continues to Invest in the Network as May Deliveries in Israel Reach 5 Cars per Day

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Better Place today announced that the company has logged its first one million electric kilometers from the electric cars operating on its charging infrastructure in Israel and Denmark. The company reported that it invested an additional $96 million in the quarter, a majority of which was dedicated to development and deployment of the Battery Switch networks in Israel and Denmark. Better Place also announced that in May it delivered 110 cars to new customers in Israel, averaging five cars per day.

With a total of 55 Battery Switch Stations in both countries in the final stages of testing and certification, following 15,000 switches of batteries in the Battery Switch Stations, the company has expanded deliveries of the first Renault Fluence ZE electric cars with switchable batteries and Better Place mobility services to customers after successfully completing four months of network testing with employees, friends and family.

Battery Switch Stations that have completed their tests are starting to open to first customers in Israel, making Israel the first country in the world where a pure electric car is not limited by the range of its battery. In the coming weeks, the company expects to see additional Switch Stations come online as tests are completed. Nationwide coverage is expected in both markets by the end of the third quarter.

"We're excited to be delivering our services to our first set of customers," said Shai Agassi, founder and CEO, Better Place. "Step by step we're completing final tests on our system and scaling our network, the delivery of cars, and the number of kilometers driven. I'm delighted to see cars going to our members who are helping us change the world. Change takes time, and I am thankful for the extremely supportive Better Place community who has cheered us on along the way."

The company expects to continue to make additional investments in network deployment in Israel and Denmark during the second and third quarters of this year with the majority of the investment incurred by the end of the second quarter. At the same time, revenues from kilometers driven on its first two networks will begin to grow as commercial operations expand throughout this year. The company's operations in Australia will begin Battery Switch Station deployment in Canberra in the second half of this year.

"Our Board believes that Better Place is uniquely positioned to unlock the mass market potential for affordable electric driving," said Idan Ofer, Chairman of the Better Place Board of Directors. "With the network in place, the Better Place team is delivering on the promise of bringing an unmatched experience for electric mobility. As Chairman and proud Better Place member, I've seen first hand that this company is indeed delivering on its promise. The Board continues to enthusiastically support Better Place as they go to market."

Better Place is backed by a world-class group of investors including HSBC and Israel Corp. that are fully dedicated to the company's long-term success and view Better Place as a long-term, transformational investment in their portfolio. The company has raised more than $750 million of equity financing to date.

Forward-Looking Statements
In this press release and in related comments by our management, our use of the words "expect," "possible," "believe," "continue," "may," "will," "positioned", "promised" or similar expressions is intended to identify forward-looking statements that represent our current judgment about possible future events. We believe these judgments are reasonable, but these statements are not guarantees of any events or financial results, and our actual results may differ materially due to a variety of important factors. Among other items, such factors might include: our ability to complete testing and certification as expected; our ability to expand commercial operations and increase revenue; our ability to offer nationwide coverage in Israel and Denmark in the expected time frame; our ability to move forward with Battery Switch Station deployment in other countries; and our ability to attract new customers. Better Place disclaims any obligation to update information contained in these forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

About Better Place
Better Place is the leading global provider of electric car networks that enables the mass market adoption of electric cars through an innovative battery switch model that makes driving electric cars more affordable, convenient and sustainable than today's petrol-based cars. Better Place owns and operates a network of battery switch stations and public/personal charge spots, along with the supply of batteries that power the cars, to provide drivers with instant range extension and the convenience to drive, switch and go across an entire region. Where possible, Better Place uses renewable sources of energy to deliver fully zero emissions driving. The World Economic Forum has named Better Place a "Global Growth Company Industry Shaper" for its innovative approach in advancing the global switch to electric cars. Check out www.betterplace.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Months Ago
      I'm never quite sure whether 'Better Place' is a complete scam, or just a cult of self-delusion ! Better Place reports "The company's operations in Australia will begin Battery Switch Station deployment in Canberra in the second half of this year." Better Place has announced such a "roll out" for the last 4 years ! A battery switching station in the capital city of Canberra would be very lonely !. Currently, the ACT (an area containing Canberra, like Washington DC) has 5 registered EV's. None of them fitted for battery switching ! Better Place states that a battery switching station can cost between $250,000 and $1.5 million. (The allocation of Renault EV's to the whole of Australia, is less than 200 units per year. ). So, it's just another Better Place fantasy. Danny King is obviously easily amazed ! Since the average Israeli passenger car travels 16,700 klms per year, 1 million klms, represents the annual travel by less than 60 cars ! Oh, hang on, that includes Denmark, so maybe 30 cars each ? What ? a switching station per car !? Better Place says it's delivering 5 cars per day. The Israeli figures are hard to verify since the State controlled electricity provider refuses to divulge such information, but does make home charging very difficult. Better Place provides no verifiable figures for Denmark, but it's a pretty good bet that Better Place is including it's conventional charging posts usage in battery switching figures. At the best, Better Place may survive in Israel's unusual circumstances. Anywhere else, Better Place is just a deluded scheme doomed to disappear due to impossible logistics, but with a lot of investors money.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        There are 16 pictures of battery switch stations being build. I've seen them with my own eyes :) Two of the sites are future projection.
          • 2 Months Ago
          I'm the happy owner of a Renault Fluence Z.E. and switch my battery on a regular basis in Israel. To date (July 10) eight of the country's 40 stations are up and running on a 24/7 basis, another 7 will open by the end of July and 38 of the 40 will all be completed by the end of October. Better Place is not a scam. The company provides an excellent level of service previously unknown here in Israel. The remaining two or so stations will be constructed in 2013. Whether you can or cannot find the switching stations on Google Earth is really irrelevant, the important thing is that my OSCAR does find them and leads me to trouble - free battery switches in less time then it takes to fill a tank of gasoline, 4 minutes and 40 seconds. My savings are enormous, I spend half of what I was spending in gas costs, insurance is less because there is nothing to steal, service costs are less because there are so few parts requiring service and because we work on a managed grid, my car places no burden on the country's power grid. I drive, clean quite and fast. Enough of your putting down what you really know so little about.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I'm the happy owner of a Renault Fluence Z.E. and I am switching my battery every week on the first battery switch station in Copenhagen. It just works perfect, and I'm loving it. The second station opened last wednesday, and the rest will open one by one when they are ready. The amount of money spent by Better Place in Denmark is equivalent of 3 days of oil i Denmark. $250.000 - $ 1.5 million for a battery switch station. Who cares. it's peanuts.
          Marco Polo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @ Jakob T It's obvious that you are a Better Place employee. Better Place has a very active group of 'community managers' trolling the internet, with guerrilla campaign techniques.
      Iam FFinder
      • 2 Months Ago
      What's The Real Cost of a Better Place Electric Car in Israel? http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1076914_whats-the-real-cost-of-a-better-place-electric-car-in-israel Since buying my Better Place Renault Fluence ZE in Israel, I'm frequently asked about the price. I bought the car because I liked the way it drove and thought it would save me money. I had been looking for a new car, but had no intention of buying a green model as such. I was quickly satisfied that the car's daily range wasn't an issue and that battery switching would take care of occasional long trips. Renault is not a premium brand in Israel. As owners of electric cars know, however, the quiet smoothness elevates these cars. That grabbed me within seconds of driving the car... ..I paid $32,300 (₪126,000, in Israeli shekels) for my car (the better-equipped "Dynamic" model), including the first year's road tax and a code-based security device mandated by insurance companies. I also paid $9,200 (₪36,000) for a four-year subscription to the Better Place package. That price will not go up for four years... ..Comparing the total package cost of the Fluence ZE not to an equivalent gasoline Fluence, but to a higher class of car, it's an attractive deal--almost like getting four years of fuel for free.. ..For a U.S. comparison, the Renault Fluence might be roughly equivalent to a Toyota Prius hybrid or a 2012 Chevrolet Malibu mid-size sedan. In Israel, each of those cars costs approximately $41,000 (₪160,000) new, before haggling. Neither includes a factory-installed satellite navigation system, which would add $1,500 (₪6,000), nor the cost of fuel. Fuel in Israel today is $7.50 per gallon, and it hit $8.00 just after I ordered my car. Taking consumption figures from the fuel.ly website and assuming no increase (or decrease) in gas price over four years, that gives total fuel costs of $7,700 and $14,900 respectively (₪30,000 and ₪58,000) for the Prius and the Malibu (with base 2.4-liter engine)... By Brian of London About: Brian lives in Israel (despite the pen name). He drives the Renault Fluence ZE battery switching electric car sold through Better Place. That means he has access to battery switch stations all over Israel and be able to swap his battery faster than you can pump a tank of gas. Brian of London emigrated from the UK to Israel in 2009. He owns and operates his own import company in Israel with more than 15 staff. Today he regularly blogs at Israellycool.com about life in Israel, technology & business topics.. ff
        Iam FFinder
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Iam FFinder
        http://www.greenprophet.com/2012/05/better-place-electric-car-spotting/ ..When asked what influenced him to purchase the car, he told Channel 10 that the motivation was influenced a lot by wanting to do his part to improve air pollution conditions by using such a car. He added that in his previous gasoline driven car, he spent an average of NIS 2,000 ($530) per month on fuel costs. With the Better Place car, he presently spends NIS 1,000 per month (half the fuel) on a monthly service “membership” charge that includes the electricity used to recharge the car’s battery pack.. ff
      JP
      • 2 Months Ago
      1 million needlessly more expensive miles driven. Say no to BP and plug in cheaply at home.
      Dave
      • 2 Months Ago
      "As of late January, Better Place, which was founded in 2007, had raised about $750 million in funding." "it's vehicles have surpassed one million kilometers (625,000 miles)" Wow .... $1,200 per mile
        Ryan
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Dave
        That is the problem, but it is a infrastructure project. The issue is that this continues to cost a lot of money each year for a limited number of cars. It could have been a great project, but they needed to eat the cost of the battery and let people recharge at home if they don't.
        Dave D
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Dave
        It's too early to really put a cost per mile against it because if (a BIG if), but IF they are successful, then those cost will clearly be defrayed. Now will they ever come down to a reasonable level? I don't see it so your main point still stands. I just don't see them being successful enough to make it work. At that rate, they would have to have cars drive over 24 billion km...without spending another penny, to get down to 5 cents per mile which I would consider a semi reasonable cost. As I said, Dave's main point is correct and I don't see it working out much better.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Dan, the battery switch stations are not restricted to the Renault Fluence. The stations will have different types of batteries., just like the one you see in the Renault Zoe.
        skierpage
        • 2 Months Ago
        If stations had to stock multiple batteries that would greatly increase BP's costs and space requirements. The Renault Zoe concept claimed support for "Quickdrop" (Renault's term for the Better Place swappable battery), but that feature has been slowdropped from the current Zoe specifications. The Renault Fluence Z.E. remains the only production car compatible with BP's battery swap with no other models even in development (the Chinese Chery prototype seems to have gone nowhere). I don't like sniping at Better Place as battery swap remains a potentially worthwhile approach to both long-distance electric travel and the upfront cost of EVs. BP needs to demonstrate value in their approach by completing their rollouts in Denmark and Israel, but the investors are clearly looking for maximum hype so they can get their money out.
          • 2 Months Ago
          @skierpage
          In the beginning Better Place will have different approaches to battery standers. In the future I believe that we will see Renault Zoe style batteries in all battery switch stations. It's simply the easiest way to switch at battery. The battery switch technology for the Zoe has been developed, but we won't see it implemented before the switch stations are ready for it. Thats how I see it. I've heard that the Chery/Better Place car is coming soon. It's company is now called Qoros, but they are looking for a different name for the Better place car.
      • 2 Months Ago
      Interesting. EV cars would be sold without the expense of the battery. Making them similar or less up front cost to purchase than comparable ICE vehicle. Purchasers would have no anxiety over battery limitations, replacement costs etc. No range anxiety. You would lease the battery program for less than what you would be paying for gasoline. You would reap the benefit of less maintenance and a longer lasting vehicle. You and your countrymen would reap the benefits of less oil dependence, less export of currency, cleaner air and less green house gasses. Dan, if the business model really works car design would have to incorporate the switchable battery. And probably not include existing EV car designs. I'm not sure why adequate batteries at stations is an issue. Petrol stations seem to keep an adequate supply of gasoline. Gorr, they wouldn't need anywhere near 2x batteries. Most charging would still be done at home. Swap stations would be for the out-of-town travelers or over 100 mi per day drives. Something less than 7% of total miles driven. Realistically those that routinely drive more than 100 miles per day would be very late adapters (if ever) to BEV, lowering the switching need percentage even further. The swap stations would also allow for more off peak charging of the batteries at slower rates than quick charging (helping both the grid demand and the battery life). Part of the cost of the swapping stations is solar & or wind electrical generation along with ramping up local grid power infrastructure . A photo of one of the early switching stations can be found at: erb.umich.edu/case-studies/better-place.pdf (put the three w . in front of). I would hope Better Place could work deals with utility companies so that they could install utility sized PV or wind to offset all their swapping station (and maybe home charging smart meter) electrical use (a net metering type program), rather than making Better Place install self sustaining location-by-location electrical generation. Can it work? If it was easy it would have been done by now.
        skierpage
        • 2 Months Ago
        Your own words show the problem Better Place is up against. " Something less than 7% of total miles driven." So 93% of the time you overpay for BP for electric miles, in exchange for the undeniable convenience (so long as BP actually builds them!) of battery swap. Without incentives I think most people will just get a plug-in hybrid. Swap stations are a potentially good solution for apartment dwellers without access to a plug, and as @Dave D says they have potential for fleet operations.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 2 Months Ago
      dead by dawn dead by dawn. battery swap has too many drawbacks. it's like hydrogen fuel cells. you think it can work but it has mortal wounds. the adequate supply of batteries at all stations for all situations is a crippling problem. and the death blow is that there will never again be a car that is compatible with better place battery swap. it is simply way too restrictive on car design to be locked into one battery type and placement. quite bizarre that they didn't realize this at any point in the development. but then again they are all so vacuous that they don't even see the advantage of aerodynamics and low weight. light weight and aerodynamic cars with quick charge is way. basically everyone can live with occasional 6 minute recharge
        Iam FFinder
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        Myth buster: can our switch stations accommodate different battery types? http://blog.betterplace.com/2010/12/myth-buster-can-our-switch-stations-accommodate-different-battery-types/ ..we need to clear up a common myth that our battery switch stations require that we make battery packs standardized. While Better Place is firmly in support of complying with international automotive and electrotechnical standards (and is even participating actively with the major standardization bodies to establish these standards where they don’t yet exist), we have always maintained that different automakers will require different battery form factors – both within their own product lines, and across companies. From day one, accommodation of multiple battery types has been a core engineering requirement for our battery switch stations. We have made significant R&D investments to develop a toolkit/adapter in our battery switch stations that can anticipate and supply different battery types for different vehicles with different battery-to-vehicle connection mechanisms. Therefore, Better Place does not require one single standardized battery type. In fact, the only element that requires standardization is that the battery be removed from under the vehicle... ff
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Months Ago
      WOW... apparently Danny spins the story against all reality once again. Sebastian... I think it is time Danny King got his own blog website. He has consistently been the worst of the bunch. Unless you give him license to write this way cause he spurs enough argument to get 200+ comments, and thus decent ad revenue?
      skierpage
      • 2 Months Ago
      Better Place wants you to recharge at home. According to brianoflondon at pandodaily.com (who seems to drive a BP car in Israel!), "Home charging is a condition of sale, they won't sell to a customer who can't charge at home! Better Place installs, operates (i.e. pays for the electricity to) and maintains your home charge point. If you sign up to 26,000km per year or more you get a second spot at your place of work installed as well." If true, that means BP is useless for apartment dwellers without a plug. I assume BP won't (can't?!) stop you recharging at a non-BP outlet, they'll just charge you as part of your plan for miles driven off someone else's electricity.
      Dave D
      • 2 Months Ago
      The model just doesn't work for private vehicles. They need to focus on fast recharging for private vehicles and battery swapping for fleets of taxis or something like that. As Dan and Gorr have already pointed out, there are too many problems to overcome.
      skierpage
      • 2 Months Ago
      More of the usual "lying by PR" from Better Place, which ABG's incompetent writers badly summarize. The press release says "With a total of 55 Battery Switch Stations in both countries *in the final stages of testing and certification*", but that's meaningless. How many are actually open and running? BP hints at the reality later on with "Battery Switch Stations that have completed their tests are starting to open to first customers in Israel." I find lots of references to Israel's *first* BP swap station "in Kiryat Ekron, near Rehovot", but none at all to their second and third. And I spent 20 minutes in Google Maps street view trying to find a battery swap station in Denmark; the best I can tell is BP dismantled the one in Gladsaxe after their demo. So much for their claim exactly a year ago that ABG duly reported "Better Place to install 20 battery swap stations in Denmark by spring 2012." @Danny King, given that intentionally misleading statement from BP and the absence of anything to back it up and their history of spin, how can you be so stupid as to write "Better Place operates 55 switching stations in Israel and Denmark"?! Rewrite the sentence! All Better Place needs to do is give the street addresses of its battery swap stations and show them on maps. Since BP doesn't do that, the only conclusion is they'd rather mislead potential investors and partners with happy talk than communicate their actual achievement. That's their right (lots of startups have big dreams), but journalists shouldn't be so easily conned. BP's swap station rollout makes the public hydrogen refueling station rollout look like a paragon of transparency.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @skierpage
        The danish infrastructure: http://danmark.betterplace.com/loesningen/kort-over-infrastrukturen/ There are pictures of the battery switch stations being build. Press the blue dots.
          • 2 Months Ago
          There are 16 pictures of switch stations being build. Two of them are future projections. It's not fantasy. I've seen them with my own eyes.
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Months Ago
          Jakob T No, it just shows a map of future 'projections'. Some of these sites are just a standard charger, but most are wishful thinking.
        Marcopolo
        • 2 Months Ago
        @skierpage
        @skierpage Well said !
        JakeY
        • 2 Months Ago
        @skierpage
        "BP's swap station rollout makes the public hydrogen refueling station rollout look like a paragon of transparency." Well, public hydrogen refueling stations are publicly financed (and the privately funded part is usually built by publicly traded companies). BP is still private right now and doesn't have the same obligations for transparency to the public.
          JakeY
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          "If Mercedes, Hyundai and VW etc, commence marketing mass produced, competitively priced FCV's, Royal Dutch Shell, will roll out the refueling infrastructure faster than you can blink, hotly pursued by it's 'Sisters' ! No taxpayer contribution will be needed" That's a very big "if". All the projections I have seen say the hydrogen infrastructure roll out will be largely publicly funded. There's a chicken and egg problem. You can't sell hydrogen cars without at least minimal infrastructure. No one will built stations unless they have enough cars on the road for a steady revenue stream. As for your comparison to LPG, it has the advantage that it's liquid under storage, so its roll out is not more difficult than biodiesel or ethanol. It can also be stored in a much cheaper steel cylinder and is used in an ICE. Hydrogen is closer to CNG vehicles (minus the ICE). The roll out there is much slower than LPG (likely for the reasons I pointed out). As for BP's transparency, apparently they list stations on their website as Jakob T points out. This is no different than what other charging networks do (like 350Green here in the west coast). Since Jakob T showed the Denmark stations, here's a list of battery switch stations being built (with pictures!) in Israel: http://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?hl=en&ie=UTF8&prev=_t&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://israel.betterplace.com/the_solution/bss/Pages/default.aspx&usg=ALkJrhjwFu-of7JaP0gcBawpR3RWnhasmg So the issue isn't that they don't provide the information. Just that it's not in English (since they haven't begun the rollout in English speaking countries yet).
          Marcopolo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @JakeY
          @ Jake Y "BP is still private right now and doesn't have the same obligations for transparency to the public." " Better Place" are actively seeking investors. They have an obligation to ensure the information they provide is accurate and verifiable. Some of the money Better Place has raised came from the public purse. If Mercedes, Hyundai and VW etc, commence marketing mass produced, competitively priced FCV's, Royal Dutch Shell, will roll out the refueling infrastructure faster than you can blink, hotly pursued by it's 'Sisters' ! No taxpayer contribution will be needed, in fact quite the opposite, the taxman will be standing at the pump, rubbing his hands with glee, about this new source of easily collected revenue. The precedent exists with LPG.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Months Ago
      These cars are not meant to be battery swapped. If ever they start doing it it will cost a fortune because you have to adapt the car, you have to have 2x the total batteries, you have to have personnal working 24/24 7/7 , you have to have huge space for the station. You have to have just one kind of battery for just one car make. It's better to do a fast charging network instead with chargers operated by the driver, that way less space and personnal needed and just one battery per car and the chargers can charge different branding bevs.
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