Better Place

  • Renault Samsung SM3 ZE electric car, sold in South Korea

    Frequently, cars withdrawn from one market live on in another, sometimes for years. Those vehicles may even be upgraded with newer technology in the older body. Consider that the first-generation Volkswagen Golf launched in 1974, for example, lived on in South Africa until 2009 as the VW CitiGolf. DON'T MISS: 2009 VW CitiGolf: Driving a Brand-New Retro Rabbit (Jul 2010) The few thousand French and Israeli drivers of the former Renault Fluence ZE electric sedan may experience a twinge of nostalgia when they see photos of the Renault Samsung SM3 ZE. The Fluence ZE was withdrawn from sale in...

  • Better Place 2012 Renault Fluence ZE just before return to Renault [photo: Brian of London]
    'Totaled' is the long, sad story of Better Place and its failure: book review

    It is just over five years since I bought my Better Place Renault 2012 Fluence ZE in Israel—and a little over five months since I returned it to Israel’s Renault importer for a cash settlement. By that time, the 22-kilowatt-hour battery capacity was down to 11.3 kwh, and a warning light...

  • Better Place visitor center [photo: Brian of London]
    Tesla Navigation Update Echoes Better Place System Of 3 Years Ago

    It was another typically hyperbolic statement from Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk. A simple tweet on a Sunday afternoon claimed that Tesla was “About to end range anxiety ... via [over-the-air] software update. Affects entire Model S fleet.” As usual, the media erupted with wild speculation...

  • Tesla Motors battery-swapping station at Harris Ranch, California, Dec 2014  [photo: Teslarati.com]
    About That (One) Tesla Battery Swapping Station: An Update

    Eighteen months ago, in the kind of flashy, highly-publicized event it's so good at, Tesla Motors said it would launch battery swapping for its Model S electric car. CEO Elon Musk presided over a demonstration in which the underfloor battery pack of a Model S was apparently removed and replaced in...

  • Photo of Tesla Model S battery swapping versus 'fastest gas pump in LA' tweeted by Elon Musk
    Tesla Says One Battery-Swapping Site Will Go Live In December

    Tesla Motors will open it first battery-swapping station before the end of the year.

  • 2012 Renault Fluence ZE electric car, powered by Better Place in Israel [photo: Brian of London]
    Electric Car Life-Cycle Analysis: Renault Fluence ZE Vs Diesel, Gas Models

    The environmental impact of plug-in electric cars is a source for much debate these days. They use less energy on a wells-to-wheels carbon basis than the vast majority of new cars sold in North America, even if they're recharged on coal-heavy electric grids. But the manufacturing impact is...

  • Photo of Tesla Model S battery swapping versus 'fastest gas pump in LA' tweeted by Elon Musk

    Exactly a year ago, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk presided over a flashy demonstration in which the battery pack of a Tesla Model S electric car was apparently swapped from underneath within 90 seconds and replaced with a fresh pack. The event generated a huge amount of press, and subsequent coverage explained why battery swapping was important despite the company's expanding network of Supercharger DC fast-charging sites. DON'T MISS: California Hands Loss To Tesla In Proposed ZEV Credit Changes Offering the ability to swap battery packs and "refuel" the car in less than 10 minutes earned Tesla...

  • Better Place Battery Swapping
    The Epic Failure Of Better Place, As Covered By Fast Company

    The remarkable scope, overwhelming ambition, and epic failure of the Better Place electric-car service in Israel is worthy of a book, or several. But until one appears, Fast Company magazine has produced the most comprehensive article yet on the founding--and foundering--of the great Better Place...

  • Better Place battery-swap demonstration
    Standardized Electric-Car Battery Swapping Won't Happen: Here's Why

    Standardized batteries are one of the great consumer goods: Who hasn't bought a pack of AA or AAA cells for some consumer-electronics device by now? The idea that standardized high-capacity lithium-ion battery packs are an inevitable next step in the evolution of electric cars crops up repeatedly...

  • Parking lot
    How To Site Electric-Car Charging Stations? It's The Parking, Stupid

    With the recent bankruptcies of charging-station network Ecotality and Israeli electric-car service Better Place, plug-in advocates have quietly discussed whether any business model exists for public electric-car charging stations. But suppose it 's not about the charging at all? Suppose it's about...

  • Better Place user David Rose w/keys to Renault Fluence ZE electric car in Israel [photo: David Rose]
    Better Place Obit Asks: Has Tesla Done What Israel Couldn't?

    Why is Tesla succeeding where Better Place failed?

  • Better Place user David Rose w/keys to Renault Fluence ZE electric car in Israel [photo: David Rose]
    Shai Agassi Weighs In On The Lessons Of Tesla & Electric Cars

    Shai Agassi, founder of the now-defunct Better Place electric-car service in Israel, hasn't been in the public eye much of late. But on the business network LinkedIn this morning, he emerged to weigh in on the lessons of Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] and what the auto industry at large could learn from...

  • Better Place Battery Swap Station

    When companies like Tesla Motors start talking battery-swapping technology, you get the feeling Israeli firm Better Place just hit the market too soon. Although Better Place (BP) filed for bankruptcy back in May, some companies have shown an interest in keeping its battery-swapping stations running--a plan that now seems to have succeeded. As Gas2 reports, Israeli courts have approved a bid by businessman Josef Abramowitz and his company Sunrise SL to buy the company's assets. That includes BP's 15 operational battery-swap stations, as well as other real estate owned by the bankrupt electric...

  • Photo of Tesla Model S battery swapping versus 'fastest gas pump in LA' tweeted by Elon Musk
    UPDATE: Musk Posts Photo Of Tesla Model S Battery Swap Video

    Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk confirmed that a press event to be held this Thursday evening will demonstrate battery-swapping for the Tesla Model S. The mode of communication was his favorite medium: a tweet. "Seeing is believing," wrote Musk, saying that the company will do a live demonstration of...

  • Better Place Battery Swap Station
    Possible Savior For Better Place Electric-Car Network Emerges In Israel

    Battery-swapping Israeli-based electric car network Better Place might have found a buyer, following its bankruptcy filings last week. Solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz hinted on his Facebook profile that his company had offered to assume Better Place's assets from the liquidator. He wrote on...

  • Facelifted 2013 Renault Fluence electric sedan
    Renault's Electric Car Plans Unfazed By Better Place Bankruptcy

    That battery-swapping electric infrastructure firm Better Place filed for bankruptcy at the weekend won't come as a surprise to many. The firm has struggled to find customers and suffered several setbacks over the past year, including the ousting of its CEO and delayed rollout in other countries...

  • Better Place visitor center [photo: Brian of London]
    Better Place Electric-Car Service Files For Bankruptcy

    Better Place, the electric-car service that pioneered battery swapping for passenger cars, filed for bankruptcy yesterday in Israel. A statement on the Better Place website said it had applied to a court for an orderly dissolution of the company to protect "the rights of its employees, customers...

  • Better Place Renault Fluence ZE on the streets of Jerusalem
    One Year With Better Place: Electric-Car Driver's Report

    Today marks my first anniversary driving a Better Place Renault Fluence ZE battery-electric car. So it seemed appropriate to summarize my experience to date with the Better Place service, which has had some challenges but is still very much in operation. I paid around $45,000 upfront for my car and...

  • 2013 Tesla Model S

    Last week, one day after Consumer Reports called the Model S the best car it had tested since 2007, Tesla quietly announced that it will make the car a whole lot better. On page 38 of a May 10 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] discussed factors that may influence the adoption of electric vehicles. Among the factors discussed was its ability to "rapidly swap out the Model S battery pack, and the development of specialized public facilities to perform such swapping, which do not currently exist but which we plan to introduce in the near future." (our...

  • Better Place user David Rose w/keys to Renault Fluence ZE electric car in Israel [photo: David Rose]
    How's Better Place Doing In Israel These Days?

    The Better Place electric-car system has not had a good run of news lately. But despite little attention, it has managed to boost the sales rate in Israel for its cars, along with subscriptions to its battery-switching service. Deliveries for all of 2012 were 518 cars. Roughly the first 100 were...

  • The GreenWay Project's battery-swapping in Slovakia
    Electric-Car Battery Swapping, Slovakian Style (Well, Vans, Anyway)

    Battery swapping was once hailed as the miracle cure for short-range electric cars, but the trials and tribulations of Better Place have shown that isn't necessarily the case. It's not a bad idea though--it just needs the correct application. That could be in the commercial vehicle world, as...

  • Better Place Battery Swap Station
    Clinton Told Better Place CEO: "Electric Cars Should Be Free"

    As any entrepreneur will tell you, starting a business isn't easy. Few know this more than Shai Agassi, founder of battery-swapping outfit Better Place. The company is making huge losses, has closed operations in some countries and even booted out Agassi himself as CEO. Still, Agassi is one of few...

  • better place battery switch station 001
    Better Place Bails Out Of Both U.S. And Australia

    If you've been following our reports on battery-swapping company Better Place, the news probably won't come as much of a surprise. The company has decided to shut down its operations in the U.S. and Australia, to concentrate on its original markets of Denmark and Israel. Loss-making Better Place...

  • Better Place Battery Swap Station
    Third Better Place CEO In Four Months Departs

    Better Place, the battery-swapping network operating in Israel and Denmark, didn't have an easy 2012, and 2013 is looking little better. Indeed, Reuters now confirms the departure of their current CEO, Evan Thornley. Better Place founder Shai Agassi was ousted last October, following losses of $490...

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