Well, that sucks. Project Better Place, the promising battery-swap company that first launched in Israel and Denmark, is headed to bankruptcy according to reports from Reuters.
Project Better Place partnered with Nissan and Renault to create a battery-swap system that would be very familiar to anyone who buys a lot of cordless power tools. The company had hoped to combine its battery swap stations with high-capacity charging stations to increase the range and practicality of electric cars while putting an end to drivers’ range anxiety issues.
Even considering the “setbacks” suffered in the US and Australian markets, this seems like a fast and stunning “fall from grace” for a company that, just two years ago, was valued by international investors at more than $2 billion. Unfortunately for Project Better Place – which launched in 2008, at the height of gas prices – sales never took off, with just about 1300 compatible electric cars on the road in Israel and Denmark (900 and 400, respectively).
“This is a difficult day for all of us. Unfortunately, after a year’s commercial operation, it was clear to us that despite many satisfied customers, the wider public take up would not be sufficient,” said Better Place CEO Dan Cohen, in a public statement Sunday.
The news first broke Sunday, but (alas!) we were battling IT issues in the early part of the week here at Gas 2, so we’re a bit late to the “Better Place is Borked!” party. That said, as of this writing it appears that Project Better Place’s assets will be liquidated by the Israeli bankruptcy courts. There is no word, yet, on what will become of the 1300 Renault EVs currently in owners’ hands … but you have to figure they’re pissed, right?
We’ll see how this news impacts Tesla’s rumored plans for a battery-swap model in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!
Source: Reuters, via the Truth About Cars.