Better Place, charging infrastructure, battery leasing and global pioneer of rapid battery swap stations for electric cars, has just announced it has secured $200 Million of investment in its series C funding.
Aiming to make electric car ownership and refueling as simple and as quick as refueling a gasoline car, Better Place’s business model revolves around building a network of quick-swap battery stations where owners of compatible electric cars -- like the 2012 Renault Fluence Z.E. -- can quickly exchange a depleted battery for a fully-charged one.
In order to use Better Place’s battery swap stations, owners of compatible electric cars will have to rent their car’s battery pack directly from Better Place, paying a monthly service agreement which will cover battery swap station use as well as maintenance of battery packs.
At the time of writing, owners of compatible cars who do now rent their car’s battery pack from Better Place will not be able to make use of the battery swapping stations.
But while battery swapping and rental are the key features Better Place is best known for, they aren’t the only parts to Better Place’s business plan.
In addition, Better Place plans to build a network of traditional electric car charging stations where electric car owners can get a top-up charge for their electric car while they shop or park.
Project Better Place and Renault-Nissan team up for EVs
In a press release accompanying the announcement of its series C round funding, Better Place has said it will use the series C round funding to expand into western Europe, and continue with deployments of rapid battery swap stations in Northern California, Southern China, Japan, Canada and Hawaii.
But with commercial operations not due to start until early 2012 in its first key markets -- Israel and Denmark -- Better Place’s successes won’t be known for some time to come.
And with only one car currently supporting the Better Place battery swap technology, it may be a while before we see battery swap stations everywhere.