Renault says the recent bankruptcy filing by battery-swapping technology firm Better Place will do little to dissuade the automaker (and sister company Nissan) from continuing to try and boost electric-vehicle sales worldwide.

Better Place's decision "does not at all call into question the electric vehicle strategy of the Renault-Nissan Alliance," Renault said in a statement. "The Alliance is the world leader in terms of electric vehicles, and the volumes of Renault's EVs continue to progress month after month." Renault also said its dealers in Denmark and Israel will continue servicing the Fluence Z.E. EVs that had been used for the battery-swapping trial.

Better Place, which was founded by Shai Agassi in 2007, filed for bankruptcy in an Israeli court over the weekend, saying that it had too little cash to continue operations. The company was estimated to have lost more than $400 million by the time Agassi resigned from the company last October and, after that, discontinued California and Australia operations to focus on Denmark and Israel.

Earlier this month, Renault-Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn said the Fluence Z.E. would be the company's only battery-swappable model because of lack of demand. Read Renault's brief statement below.
Show full PR text
Renault's reaction to Better Place's announcement
May 27, 2013

Renault acknowledges the decision of Better Place's Board of Directors.

The Renault network in Israel and in Denmark will continue to provide after-sales servicing for Fluence Z.E. and these vehicles' batteries.

Electric vehicles are a revolution in mobility. Renault is exploring all the charging technologies from quick drop to several alternatives.

This decision does not at all call into question the electric vehicle strategy of the Renault-Nissan Alliance. The Alliance is the world leader in terms of electric vehicles, and the volumes of Renault's EVs continue to progress month after month.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 17 Comments
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      By the way, irrespective of the Fluenze Z.E.'s battery swapping capability, it seems to me like an attractive sedan, large enough to be practical for family use. I wonder if it's significantly larger than other EVs, such as the Volt or Leaf. (Obviously the Model S is in a class by itself.)
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's such a nice looking EV compared to the MiEV and Leaf.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Battery swapping always seemed like an idea fraught with problems when it came to implementation. You wouldn't seriously consider rolling up to a gas station and swapping your near empty gas tank for one that is full. Better to just concentrate on improving battery technology and rolling out charging infrastructure instead.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      I disagree the chemistry needs to standardize. There are numerous different chemistries available for batteries used in common consumer electronics devices, but there's still a standard for a battery to be a AA, a AAA, a C, or a D, regardless of whether it's alkaline, Ni-MH, NiCad, carbon-zinc, or the old mercury chemistry.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      But you would required to pay Better Place a monthly fee based on how much you charged (or perhaps it was per mile). You couldn't just buy a BP EV and they no pay anything to BP again. So they will need to remove the management system.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Battery swapping was and still is a great idea....but for fleets, not individuals. If they had concentrated on fleets, taxi companies, delivery, government etc...and rolled out to individuals owners slowly I believe it would have worked for the near term ...until battery charging technology improved to the point of making a swapping station obsolete. Individuals will buy Electric vehicles in mass only when the battery charging technology improves. S. Karls
      brotherkenny4
      • 1 Year Ago
      Battery swapping was never needed. The EV is the perfect commuter car. It is capable of being charged at home and used as a households primary vehicle. It has often been stated that a family with a single car that is electric would be seriously limited in where it could go (or at least something to that affect is implied). However, families with single cars are the minority and they can continue to use an ICE vehicle. The truth is that most households have a car for every driver, which would easily allow them to have an EV for most of their driving. So, despite the criticism that EV are impractical, they are not. Better Places entire existence was based on a false premise put forward by the defenders of fossil energy. There are numerous other false contentions. There is the exploding battery (gasoline is so much safer), there is the limited range (95% of driving can be covered by an EV), there is the "too expensive" whine (yet many model already offer total cost of ownership savings, and the prices will come down even further once the car companies realise they will not be able to avoid this and actually start mass production). This EV thing is a lesson for us. It's a "no brainer", except, that it changes who makes money and who is wealthy. We definitely need to learn to do what best for the country and the people, and not worry too much about the wealthy, and we need to figure out how to get our elected officials to work for us and not the wealthy. Oh yes, let's also learn how to debunk the fake news companies faster. Really, to say that there are journalist is nearly insane. What there is are lobbyist of the weak minded.
        carney373
        • 1 Year Ago
        @brotherkenny4
        Yes, EVs are great for commuter cars and you're right that most households have more than one car anyway. But the fact of longer time to replenish motive energy, and shorter range, remains a major psychological obstacle, and contrary to your post, one that has at least SOME validity even if that validity is exaggerated by critics. Put it this way - if the industry had agreed on a standard size and placement, and battery swapping became the practical norm, I doubt you'd be criticizing them on that score. Your post smacks of unconvincing defensiveness. I've found you actually get a lot more credibility if you just admit a weak point in your case up front and freely instead of doggedly insisting that everything is perfect and the other guy has zero case.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carney373
          You fail to appreciate the advances being made in battery technology and speed of charging. Your arguments are based solely on levels of technology in production vehicles today, and do not consider developments coming down the track, which will make battery swapping unnecessary. At the current pace of development, EVs will match ICE vehicles both in terms of range and speed of refilling within a decade. That being the case, why on earth would I want to mess about swapping a battery pack?
      bluepongo1
      • 1 Year Ago
      http://www.technologyreview.com/view/515596/teslas-superchargers-matter-only-because-it-already-sells-a-car-people-want/ <== On topic, good read.
      Thereminator
      • 1 Year Ago
      People don't(or shouldn't) want the burden of proprietary infrastructure(Hear that hydrogen investors?).We have a long,unpleasant history with petroleum companies and gas stations...why would we want to buy into more energy distribution monopolies? Other than the obvious,collective stupidity,that drives repetitive history and plagues humankind.
      skierpage
      • 1 Year Ago
      @carney373 most of my consumer electronics continue to work if I swap alkaline AAAs for NiMH. It's going to be years before a car's electrical, thermal, and battery monitoring systems will support different pack chemistries. And all the packs are different shapes. There isn't even any effort towards the standardization this would require. And if you swap packs you're back to the conundrum of who owns a $10,000 pack, a messy three-way deal to buy a car and a reliable battery supply, ... So many problems.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wonder what happens to the cars that were purchased? Do they convert them to standard EVs? Those buyers might actually get a good deal if their BP EVs turn into standard EVs.
        carney373
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        I don't know what you mean by "standard EV" -- the Fluence Z.E. is not required to do battery swapping to replenish its charge, and can recharge via plug-in like every other EV. No "conversion" necessary.
      carney373
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really liked the battery-swapping idea and paradigm. I wish it had succeeded in this case. It's a real shame that while the industry was able to (mostly) agree on a charging port standard (the SAE J1772), but was not able to agree on standard dimensions and location for a battery to enable swapping.
        Spec
        • 1 Year Ago
        @carney373
        It is too early for battery swapping. The battery chemistry needs to standardize, more EVs are needed, car-makers need to agree, etc. Heck, these boneheads can't even get DC fast-charging standardized. :-(
    • Load More Comments