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Project Better Place Latest EV Failure

Collapse of Israeli Battery Swap venture also a setback for Nissan and Renault.

by on May.28, 2013

Better Place founder Shai Agassi resigned last year. His successor couldn't make it a go, either.

Better Place, the Israeli company once considered in the vanguard of the movement for electric vehicles has filed for liquidation after its efforts to establish a commercially viable battery-swap operation in Israel failed.

Founder and electric car advocate Shia Agassi, left Better Place last year and the decision by his successor to file for bankruptcy and liquidate the company is only the latest in a string of setbacks for electric vehicle start-ups. Better Place now joins battery-car makers and suppliers such as Bright Automotive, A123 Battery and Coda that were scrapped after failing to win support from consumers and investors. Fisker Automotive is soon expected to join the list.

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Better Place’s decision to cease operation also is a setback for Nissan and Renault chief executive officer Carlos Ghosn who has been a huge supporter of EVs and pushed Nissan to sell the all-electric Leaf. Ghosn was a strong proponent of Better Place which promoted the idea of fast battery swapping to improve battery-car range.

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EV Pioneer Shai Agassi Steps Aside

by on Oct.03, 2012

Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

The turmoil in the electric-car industry continues unabated and has claimed a high-profile pioneer, as Tel Aviv-based Better Place named a replacement for the company’s founder Shai Agassi as chief executive officer.

Agassi was considered something of a visionary in the EV business for developing a business model that had drivers swapping rather than recharging batteries.

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“Over the past five years, Agassi has pioneered an innovative technology solution aimed at making electric cars more affordable and more convenient than gasoline cars,” the electric vehicle start-up company said in a statement.

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EV Pioneer Shai Agassi Wins Benz Award

Honored for “Oustanding commitment…to the future.”

by on Jul.25, 2011

Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

One of the founders of the “e-mobility” movement has been honored with an award named after the inventor of the automobile.  Shai Agassi , founder of A Better Place, which has offered a unique solution for getting electric vehicles on the road, has received the first Bertha-Carl-Benz Award from the city of Mannheim, Germany.

“Shai Agassi has inspired us with his contribution to mobility and addressing the climate challenge and it is because of his efforts that we have awarded him this special gift,” said Mannheim Mayor Dr. Peter Kurz.

A graduate of the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Agassi was a rising star in the information technology field, having founded several fast-growing start-ups, including Quicksoft Ltd.  In 2007, he was considered the likely next CEO of IT giant SAP.  But in 2008, with the Israeli government pressing to set up an electric vehicle network, Agassi raised $111 million to fund what became A Better Place.

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Working with partners including Renault and Nissan, Agassi developed an unusual approach to battery power that would sidestep two of the critical problems with electric vehicles — limited range and long charge times – by allowing a motorist to simply swap out batteries about as quickly as it would take to re-fuel a conventional vehicle.

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