Renault Fluence ZE concept - click above for high-res image gallery

While Better Place has made no secret of its partnership with Renault, the company has always put an emphasis on the cheap cost-per-mile aspect of their business model instead of on the cars themselves. Better Place founder and CEO Shai Agassi is now slightly refining the message to emphasize the cheaper up-front cost of the EVs, including the Renault Fluence, instead of the running costs. Perhaps he's learned a lesson from Nissan head Carlos Ghosn. The "we're selling miles" message isn't gone, it's just taking a back seat to the "cheap EV" message. To wit, a new interview with Agassi in Automotive News (subs req'd), which is all about how the cost-per-mile, swappable battery plan means a cheaper electric car. How cheap? Agassi says it'll be under $20,000, and that's before any tax incentives. Better Place's first battery swap station will be installed in Tokyo next month, and the cars could come to the U.S. (starting in Hawaii and San Francisco) in 2012.

[Source: Automotive News (subs req'd)]

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