Better Place Trouble Continues As Latest CEO Quits

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Better Place Battery Swap Station

Better Place Battery Swap Station

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Only a month after Better Place founder Shai Agassi was replaced as CEO of the company, current CEO Moshe Kaplinsky has also departed the troubled firm.

Better Place, whose corporate model allows electric car owners in Israel, Denmark and Australia to have their car's entire battery swapped at stations around the country, has faced increasing troubles in recent months.

Following Agassi's departure from the top spot (he still holds shares in Better Place, however), it's also been revealed that sales have been slow in the company's home of Israel.

In fact, only 490 cars--Renault Fluence ZE electric sedans--had been sold by the end of October, making the company's 4,000-strong user base by next June look like an unlikely target. Local reports suggest that many locals feel the sums just don't add up.

Better Place is also having to re-negotiate its 100,000-car contract with Renault, in light of the slow sales. And the company has posted losses of nearly half a billion dollars.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported the latest departure, which apparently stems from disagreements with chairman Idan Ofer, and Agassi's successor, Evan Thornley.

It isn't clear where Kaplinsky will go from here--politics has been suggested--but more worrying is where Better Place will go.

With slow sales, financial difficulties and troubles with top management, how long can the company continue with its grand plans for an electric future?


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Comments (6)
  1. Sounds like better place makes a classical tech startup error...Pivotal questions such as: "are customers waiting for a battery swapping system anyway?" are answered with initial sales figures: 480. If Better Place its R&D was invested in a vehicle with 300km range, it would probably eat a Leaf for lunch.

  2. Think you meant 100,000 car deal, not 10,000 car deal.

  3. Thanks John.

  4. contracting with a single vehicle manufacturer was a mistake. Did intel grow by only making processors for Dell, or HP, or Toshiba? no...they did it by selling it to everyone.

  5. Not a mistake, Renault was the only company they could get to agree to their plan.

  6. The Renault angle interests me - recently Renault postponed the Zoe's debut, with the bizzare excuse that it would distract attention from their ICE models.

    Now we learn their 'megadeal' with BP has evaporated in thin air.

    Put those two things together and it occurs to me Renault is very possibly going to deeply scale back their EV program.

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