Project Better Place Nabs Another $200 Million, Valued At $2.25 Billion

Think electric cars are not a financially viable business option? Think again. While much focus has been on the Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt, Palo Alto-based Project Better Place has been expanding its infrastructure network and gathering up immense sources of money. Better Place has just closed another round of funding, bringing in about $200 million and driving their valuation to over $2.25 billion.

Building A World For EV’s

For a company that doesn’t even make electric cars, those are some big numbers, putting it on par with companies like Tesla and Fisker. The difference is that unlike Tesla and Fisker, Project Better Place has come to focus on battery swapping infrastructure, and has already begun full-scale operations in Denmark and Isreal, with smaller pilots in California, Japan, and other places. But that is only half the picture.

Project Better Place has been rounding up support and funding from a number of very conservative sources because their business plan is so damn sound. Rather than trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, as many major automakers are doing by offering up limited-range electric city commuters, Project Better Place is working to make the world more EV friendly without sacrificing things like quick fill-up’s and long range.

They don’t want to change the way people drive; they want to change the way people live i.e. without oil. Their battery swapping stations, so far serving only the Renault Fluence EV, also allow drivers the luxury of only paying for the car itself, and leasing the battery from Better Place (which offers different “mileage” plans.) Better Place has already signed on a large number of Isreali car dealerships as part of their ever-expanding program.

A Better Idea

Some of you may balk at the idea of leasing the battery…but how is that any different from filling up your tank with gas? You pay for the gas, to be sure, but once it runs out, it runs out. So why should we pay for the very-expensive batteries when leasing them saves so much money? Consider how many gas stations are in your area; what if a few of them also happened to have battery-swapping stations? Would a 3-minute battery swap that gave you another 100+ miles of range, in a car half the price of the LEAF or Volt, make EV’s more appealing to you? Because to me it sounds like a win-win situation…and a great way to get more people employed

Project Better Place has been flying under the radar, lacking the sexy glamor of the Tesla Roadster or the Fisker Karma. But the world doesn’t need another expensive luxury car; we need EV’s for the masses that don’t change us to expensive batteries or limited range. Will Better Place change the world? Time will tell.

Source: Reuters | The Truth About Cars | Image: Project Better Place

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.