Better Place continues to be a bit of a misnomer as issues with the electric-vehicle battery-switching network have delayed Renault's plans to debut its Fluence Z.E. electric vehicle in Australia, Car Advice reports.

Renault, whose EV is designed to allow for battery swapping, was originally slated to debut Down Under by June 2012, is delaying sales because Better Place's network of battery-switching stations were not ready on time. Delays in Better Place's infrastructure in Israel and Denmark are pushing back the Australia dates. A Better Place spokeswoman admitted to Car Advice that Better Place's original deadlines were "ambitious."

As a result, the Renault will start sales in Canberra, its first Australian market, in mid-2013 and will be distributed across Australia by the following year. The Fluence Z.E. is said to have a single-charge range of about 115 miles.

In October, Better Place founder Shai Agassi was pushed out by the company's board of directors and replaced by Evan Thornley, who had been CEO of Better Place Australia. Earlier this month, the Israeli business publication Globes reported that Better Place may fire as many as 200 workers, many of which work on the company's software.

Better Place has been estimated to have lost about $437 million since being founded in 2007. In November, the company announced it would attempt to sell about $100 million in company equity.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Hopefully Better Scam will bite the dust soon.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @DaveMart
        I really don't know why you would wish BP to die. I purchased a Fluence ZE, I have driven 30K KM in 9 months range unlimited, its a wonderful drive, far superior to any gas-car i have ever driven or been in, in this price range of 23KUSD, pretax. The batt switch network keeps getting better, faster, more automatic and denser on the ground. And the Hormuz Straits where Australia gets most of its oil will close down soon enough.
        Giza Plateau
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        I suppose one has to consider it could be a scam but I really doubt it. It was just an obviously flawed concept taken to extremes, not only by BP but Renault. The real puzzle is how they could have missed the obvious problems.
          skierpage
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Battery swapping solves a HUGE real problem, with it your EV car has infinite range! But it means BP has to own the packs, which turns car ownership into a messy expensive three-way. If they could have got the swap system in place fast enough potential EV owners might have demanded it from car companies, but now it's stalled with one low-volume uninspiring Renault and *no* evidence of additional car models adopting it. And even with all the hundreds of millions of dollars invested only one small country (Israel) has an actual battery swap network covering the country. All groundbreaking new ideas have "obvious problems" but again BP is a real solution. BP didn't "take it to extremes", they flailed around trying to get the capital needed to implement a minimal solution (one car model and battery swap stations in one geographic area) while making happy talk grandiose plans about minor real-world initiatives. That sounds like every other start-up company attempting something difficult.
      carney373
      • 2 Years Ago
      I like this battery swap idea and wish it well. If only the automakers had agreed on common standards for batteries, they way they have (or sort of have) with chargers.
        carney373
        • 2 Years Ago
        @carney373
        I wish they'd be operating here in the US too. Only Australia, China, Denmark, Israel, and the Netherlands.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The claims by 'Better Place' in Australia were always based upon the supposed influence that 'Better Place' held with the Australian Labour government. The Australian CEO of 'Better Place' was a former Labour Politician and party official. Evan Thornley is an odd combination of public socialist political leanings, which appear to be left over from his days at University, and an avid desire to accumulate wealth and power. "Better Place" employees under Even Thornley are mostly recruited from the IT industry, and behave with a cult like zealousness, and a complete disregard for factual accuracy, or even reality ! 'Better Place' constantly uses the term, "the Canberra government" or the "government in Canberra, has given approval " to bolster his fictitious claims. This sort of disinformation, is very disingenuous, as these terms are widely accepted as references to the Australian National government, but in fact, refers to the government of the Australian Capital Territory, an are like DC, with a population of just over 300,000 , the 'government' of which has about as much influence as a small municipality ! There was no chance whatsoever of "Better Place" ever building a battery swapping network in such a vast nation, with only 22 million people. But GM has appointed Better Place as it's 'recommended' the home charging point installer for the Holden Volt. Simultaneously, GM received a grant of $290 million from the Australian Labour Government. Equally co-incidentally the Even Thornley funded on-line lobby group, 'Get-up!', ceased it's criticism of the minority Australian Labour government ! A tangled web indeed ! Internationally, Better Place seems to have abandoned the made dream of "battery swapping" concentrating instead on software for conventional charging posts, and a charging post network. It's hard to say whether Shai Aggassi was just a mad dreamer who enticed others into an absurd concept that he nevertheless believed in, or just scammed the suckers and left behind just enough charging network technology to stifle allegations of fraud.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Agassi failed to sell cars, most probably because he talks at high altitude, for enthusiasts, and not to regular folks who look solely to the bottom line. However, the product works, and is getting better. One example: i just had my annual 30K service at the Renault local dealer. All they had to do was put in two new air-filters, for the battery vent and AC vent. Apart from that it was a safety inspection. a comparable service for a the gas equivalent costs more than three times as much