Half-off on electric vehicles that can go about three-quarters range on a single charge? That's more or less what the new owner of Better Place's battery-switching and EV-charging network in Israel is proposing for a bunch of Renault Fluence Z.E. vehicles that it has to get off of its hands. Gnrgy, which now owns the used cars as well as the network (car-importer Carasso Motors and Renault bought the new vehicles), is offering the used Renaults for between $14,000 and $17,000. That's about a 50-percent discount, Israeli publication Haaretz says. Those 55 used cars, which have an average of about 55,000 miles on their odometers, can go about 62 miles on a single-charge, or a little less than the 75-to-90-mile range typical EVs can go. The caveat is that the promise of battery-swapping functionality is gone.

Better Place burned through about $850 million in five years before going out of business in May, and some Israeli and Danish customers have said the implosion has set back EV-adoption efforts far enough to more than offset any good that the company may have done. Israel's Yosef Abramowitz (aka solar advocate "Captain Sunshine") and EV Net Group were both said to be buying Better Place earlier this year before those deals fell through.

By the way, Carasso and Renault are going to be selling the unused vehicles earmarked for the Better Place network. But about half of those have taken on rust after being stored a little too close to the Mediterranean Sea. Ugh.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is there some of these chaps that will go to prison having rob 850 millions ?
      danfred411
      • 1 Year Ago
      As for 14k$ for the car, that's not a bad price. If it had fast charge it would be a good deal. But of course the dummies felt that fast charge had no future... So much money, so big companies yet such idiotic decisions. Fascinating.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred411
        14k$? That's one expensive door stopper.
        DaveMart
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred411
        It sounds as though if you want a car with a non-see-through floor, that will be extra.
      • 1 Year Ago
      14k$? That's one expensive door stopper/paper weight/stocking stuffer.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      @ rcmansid Toyota and Renault-Nissan are very large,and wealthy corporations. (Renault is part owned by the French government). GM is, ...well, ..certainly very large. Stop worry about conspiracy theories and go out and buy and EV (or EREV).
      Thereminator
      • 1 Year Ago
      The real problem from ICE is the unrelenting,monopolistic fuel infrastructure. Something that rechargeable/renewable energy vehicles will find easier to avoid,or change when needed. I'm glad Better Place is in a better place,leaving us in...a better place.
        rcmansid
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Thereminator
        I still say the Prius or the Volt system is the best option for today. Very rich powerful industries have the influence and money to corrupt officials to make certain electric only vehicles byte the dust.
      DaveMart
      • 1 Year Ago
      If they are byting the dust, it sounds more like the computer industry is the one doing the damage!:-0
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is a perfect vehicle for a small country like Israel. That's a good deal for somebody that doesn't have to venture that far from home...............Long Live Israel !
      • 1 Year Ago
      $850 Million "lost" in 5 years ? Sounds like a typical Hebrew scheme and I bet the Danes bit the big weenie on this one.
        • 1 Year Ago
        Luft, your head is full of "air." Yeah, Luft is the German word for "air." So, you must be of German heritage. Bet some of your relatives did some pretty unsavory things in the past, eh? Achtung!
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ Angeleno Countering one racist sterotype remark, with another equally offensive is pretty counter productive.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I will buy an electric car the day I can drive into any service station and have a robot arm remove my low charged battery and replace it with a fully charged battery.
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        Only proven facts The same as with gasoline cars eh? You pull into a gas station, and a robotic arm unscrews the gas cap, inserts a nozzle, fills the tank, re places the cap and off you go... oh wait.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ Only proven facts Then you will never buy an electric car !
      • 1 Year Ago
      The concept was brilliant, a car that is charged during the night at your home, at work or when parked in the street. Then for long distances, a battery change station which takes about 3 minutes to switch out the battery for a fully charged battery. When purchasing the car, the battery remains the property of the company and can be upgraded for newer batteries as the technology improves. The problem was simply overreaching in the kickoff market size. Besides building change stations all over the country, as well as development of certain municipal infrastructures, there was the problem of launching in 4 counties almost simultaneously. Then you need to add in the cost of the first vehicles being sold. The original plan was to sell a car cheaper than a regular petrol powered car, and then build a running cost structure lower than a petrol based car. The economic advantage would outweigh the inconvenience of the short mileage shortfall. There were other Japanese versions tested in Japan that raised the mileage to over 150 miles, but the cost was too much of a factor. Basically more cars needed to be sold to bring the costs down, mass production was the key. The problem is that a big chunk of the financing went into keeping the costs of the first batches sold as low as possible. Unfortunately they turned out to be marginally more expensive than their petrol counterparts, and because of the low number of cars sold the monthly running cost were also too high. Basically the business was simply badly run, instead of using the money to keep the cars and the running costs cheap, the money went into building infrastructures in too many markets. A better idea would have been to build a small infrastructure in one country and supplied the market with cars cheaper than the petrol cars, with running costs cheaper than petrol costs. And then simply sat back and watched the demand increase. Only when the market could support the concept should the infrastructure have been increased to eventually spill over to new countries.
        Marcopolo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @ Harry (Paragraphs, make long posts easier to read). Better Place was always an absurd concept. The idea was from a 'popular science' type publication from the late 1950's and probably sounded intriguing back then. But the logic of the concept was always deeply flawed. What astonished me was that during the 'green investment boom' of between 2006-2010, so many mad projects attracted considerable funding with little or no analysis. The whole concept of better place was that the public were only able to buy one marque of car, with one battery, and charge from one monopoly ! The cost of the infrastructure could never have justified by the returns. In it's original business plan, ( I'm just checking my copy) , Battery swapping was financially feasible as a method of overcoming a maximum battery range of 75 miles. Since I just drove from London in a vehicle with 200 + range and fast charging, (a Tesla model S would do even better), and I can reasonably expect EV ESD storage systems to double or tremble over the next decade, why would anyone bother with battery swapping ? The whole Better Place concept was based on a flawed premise, it's logistic's were always flawed. It's an idea, whose business plan was based on desire and ideology, sold by some slick (and fanatical ) salespeople. It's supporters are people who think that just wanting something to be true, will make it true ! The billion dollars would have been better spent on battery research.
          Ben Crockett
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Marcopolo
          @ Marcopolo Very well put. The Better Place concept was flawed in many ways most of which you have outlined.
      • 1 Year Ago
      "...have an average of about 55,000 miles on their odometers, can go about 62 miles on a single-charge, or a little less than the 75-to-90-mile range typical EVs can go." I recently leased a brand new Nissan Leaf and it will go about 75 miles on a single charge. If I don't drive it over 55mph it will go even further. At a sustained 65mph the range goes down significantly, to about 60. If I drive 65mph on the Highway and use the Defroster, it will go somewhere between 40-50 miles. Unfortunately, it is winter in Wisconsin, my daily round trip commute is 52 miles and there are not too many charging stations.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Israel has failed yet again due to their lack of understanding how the world works.
        Technoir
        • 1 Year Ago
        At least they can spell correctly. Go play on the NPD message board where you belong you neo nazi.
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