Strange Bedfellows? Project Better Place Pairs With GM Australia

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2013 Holden Volt with Better Place Charge Spot and executives from both companies

2013 Holden Volt with Better Place Charge Spot and executives from both companies

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Better Place is now rapidly ramping up the first full deployment of its electric-car service and battery swapping network in Israel, but the company has ambitious plans in other countries as well.

In Israel, it's illegal for electric-car users to plug their cars into just any old wall socket. They must recharge on an approved, networked charging station--of which Better Place has the only one at the moment.

But in other countries, that kind of law is less likely to be accepted by drivers and governments.

So Better Place is partnering up in some cases to broaden its reach and attract new groups of customers and electric-car drivers.

The latest such deal comes out of Australia, where the local unit of GM has designated Better Place its preferred provider of home recharging stations for buyers of its upcoming Holden Volt.

Holden has been GM's native Australian car brand since 1931, though aside from its sedan-based "utes" (pickup trucks), it has few unique vehicles and builds its cars on global GM platforms.

(The same applies to GM's British marque, Vauxhall, which sells a model range in the U.K. that's virtually identical to the cars sold as Opels in Europe.)

The 2013 Holden Volt is built in Chevrolet's Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant in the U.S., and resembles a Chevy Volt with a round Holden badge replacing its grille-mounted bowtie logo.

2013 Holden Volt with Better Place Charge Spot, Australia

2013 Holden Volt with Better Place Charge Spot, Australia

Enlarge Photo

Better Place will offer various membership packages to Volt buyers in Australia that include installation of a home "Charge Spot" Level 2 charging station, and the ability to recharge the Volt's 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack using only electricity generated from fully renewable sources.

The company will also install a Volt Charge Spot at Volt-certified Holden dealerships, to enable them to keep their stock of Holden Volts fully charged.

Unlike drivers in Israel, however, Australian Volt owners can choose to plug their Volts into a conventional 10-Amp household socket to recharge, without purchasing a Level 2 charging station.

So it'll be interesting to see how well Aussies take to Better Place's offerings when they're not the only legal recharging option if you want to drive electric.

The Holden Volt goes on sale later this year.

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