Better Place has long promoted itself to the electric-vehicle advocate community as the expert in battery-swapping technology. Turns out, the company is proficient at swapping out its CEOs, too.

Evan Thornley, who became CEO in October, had been chief of the company's Australia operations before replacing Better Place founder Shai Agassi. Thornley is now out, the company says.

Thornley helped the company "raise the capital it needed to sustain continued operations," but won't be leading the company's effort in expanding its sales and network of battery-swapping stations in countries such as Israel and Denmark. Better Place CFO Alan Gelman will oversee the company until yet another CEO successor is tapped.

Thornley took over company leadership after Agassi, who founded the company in 2007, was pushed out in October. Reuters, citing information from Better Place shareholder Israel Corp., says the company has racked up a deficit of more than $560 million since its inception. Check out Better Place's press release below.
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BETTER PLACE ALIGNS LEADERSHIP TEAM TO TACKLE NEXT PHASE OF GROWTH

Tel Aviv - Better Place, the world's leading provider of Electric Vehicle Network Services announced today new roles and responsibilities for its senior management team as it continues the transition from a development company into a commercially focused organization.

Over the last three months, Evan Thornley, previously CEO of Better Place Australia, assumed the role of Global CEO. Under Evan's leadership and direction, the company was able to raise the capital it needed to sustain continued operations, and underwent a significant restructuring to better position the organization for long-term success.

Today the Board thanked Evan for his services over this transition period. "Evan stepped up at a critical junction for Better Place," said Idan Ofer, Chairman of the Board of Better Place. "We thank Evan for his invaluable service to the company. Under his direction we were able to ensure Better Place retains its position as a global leader in EV infrastructure and services. We wish Evan the best of luck in his future endeavors."

At the Global Level, Mr. Ofer will assume the role of Executive Chairman and manage external relationships and alliances for Better Place, while Alan Gelman, Global CFO for Better Place, will manage day-to-day operations.

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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  • 16 Comments
      ericmarseille
      • 3 Months Ago
      Funny I've read your comments and I don't have the same opinion on the inner defects of Better Place. I admit I had totally underestimated the need for a unique type of battery (or at least limiting to very few ones), but since Better Place would have worked only with what, 2 automakers max., I think it could have been manageable, esp. if their initial success was as planned, so that they could impose their conditions to automakers. No, I thought the idea was good, indeed...And if the public car prices had been what Agassi had announced, tax free - remember that in Israel the tax is huge and that in Denmark it's simply mind-blowing, it should have been an immense success right on. Yet when the price for the Danish Fluence ZE was announced I was, like, what??? It was practically the same price as a regular Fluence when it should have been one third! To me the great error of Agassi is to have trusted governments...Of course they would never renounce their taxes! That and their choppy, shrouded, dysfonctional communication.
      Actionable Mango
      • 3 Months Ago
      So Better Place CEOs keep finding better places to work?
        Giza Plateau
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        He was always supposed to be temporary. They stated as much originally iirc. But the signs of death are clear enough
      Andrew Richard Rose
      • 3 Months Ago
      A pretty poor idea . The business plan did not account for the rapid advance of electric drivetrain technology and the reduction of cost of lithium ion batteries .
        Giza Plateau
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Andrew Richard Rose
        It has nothing to do with advances. Battery price drop would only be to their advantage. The problem is the monopoly, the hard standard all car makers in the world would have to abide by for all car models. A single battery type. And there are many related problems. Fast charge offers flexibility and cheap infrastructure. Battery swap could never work and it was obvious from day one. It's an incredible amount they have burned. Almost suspiciously large. Yet another foolish tragedy in EV land. Fisker, Tesla, Coda, BP all dead and Lotus will join them. So many fools who didn't want to listen to the obvious recipe. Lean, mean and fast charge electric.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          @ Giza Plateau Slowly, warily the little troll troll crept back from banishment. The heavy disguise worked for a little while. But as his confidence grew, he couldn't resist his old habits. All the promises he made to his Mother and 'care worker' are forgotten ! Like Toad in the children fable 'Wind in the Willows" , DF has risen again, creeping back from banishment , followed by other 'resurrected' entities. Oh well, if that's the price of Free Speech, I guess it's worth putting up with you Dan !
          Spec
          • 3 Months Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          Battery swap can work. And it doesn't have to be limited to single battery type. One just would need a data exchange to know what type of battery is being used to inform the car and the battery swap station. However, it would be important to try to keep the number of different physical sizes to a minimum and have cars with chargers that could learn new charging protocols.
        Ghepardo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @Andrew Richard Rose
        My thoughts exactly. Better Place's battery swap model can only exist in a world without battery development or rapid charge technology. I once had a brief encounter with them through business and the impression I got was that they were trying too hard to protect their idea rather than evolve with the EV industry.
      PeterScott
      • 3 Months Ago
      I called this a house of cards from the beginning. It was only a question of when (not if) the hype died and the scheme had to start standing on it's own nonexistent economic merits.
      Marcopolo
      • 3 Months Ago
      Better Place is a curious corporation. Foundered by a guy who made a fortune in the dot.com boom, based on a article in an old, 1950's, 'Popular Science' magazine. Better Place was staffed by young and zealous, IT tech geeks, and the company was run more like a cult than a business enterprise. Evan Thornley is himself a dot.com millionaire who enjoyed a short spell a left politician. His wildly exaggerated (often fictitious) claims and promises of access to politicians, persuaded a lot people who should have know better, to support his publicity coups and even place real investment in Better Place. It Australia, Evan Thornley's last publicity coup was to persuade his cronies in the government to pay subsidize GM to make Better Place the charging post provider for the Holden Volt. Like all, Better Place announcements, the reality was very different than the media hype. All the deal with the wily GM-H, offered was that GM would 'recommend' to it dealers, to buy a Better Place charging facility. Since Australia has standard 240 Volt , and wide spread commercial three phase power, few availed themselves of this option. Better Place's loud trumpeting of this financial sales 'coup', is typical of the hype and puffery of Better Place. Autraila's allocation of imported GM Volt 's is only in the hundreds per year, not tens of thousands. In the end, like most cults, it's hard to know whether the leaders were delusional, scamsters, or both !
      Spec
      • 3 Months Ago
      This will be a death spiral. My biggest gripe with Better Place was always "Who wants to make a big investment in order to get locked into a long-term supply contract with a single supplier that could raise prices at will?" Now the situation is even worse. The question is now: Who wants to make a big investment in order to get locked into a long-term supply contract with a single supplier that could raise prices at will AND IS IN GREAT FINANCIAL DISTRESS. What happens if you buy one of their cars and they go under? Does your car get bricked? Can you pay them to remove their proprietary stuff? Are you SOL?
      goodoldgorr
      • 3 Months Ago
      Why didn't they close this money pit.
        Marcopolo
        • 3 Months Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        @ goodoldgorr Because it's money pit ! Until the money runs out, everyone's being fed !
      JP
      • 3 Months Ago
      Continued failure of a bad idea.
      Spec
      • 3 Months Ago
      As I've said several times . . . Better Place has been looked at quite skeptically by the EV community. If they can't win over the EV community then who exactly were they going to sell to?
      Thereminator
      • 3 Months Ago
      And now ,he is also in...a Better Place...
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