Electric Car Battery Swapping Startup Better Place Plans To Liquidate Forbes

21 Май 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Electric Car Battery Swapping Startup Better Place Plans To Liquidate Forbes отключены
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Electric Car Battery Swapping Startup Better Place Plans To Liquidate

Better Place, a well-funded startup that dreamed of making history as a pioneer in the electric car market, has asked a court to shut down the company and begin a liquidation process.

The Silicon Valley company, which raised over $850 million in private equity and once boasted of being valued at $2.25 billion. tried to build a business of setting up battery charging and swapping stations. It was hoping to prove its business model in Israel and Denmark before filing for dissolution in Israel on Sunday.

The company had only been operating the charging networks in those two countries for about a year before it decided to quit. Bleeding money is common for a business when it’s still young, especially when it had to raise a lot of money to build a fueling infrastructure and train consumers to become comfortable using it. But Better Place’s board of directors said in a statement that the company hadn’t been able to attract enough customers to allow it to chart a path to profitability.

“This is a difficult day for all of us. We have come a long way in order to bring about a global vision. From the start, Better Place was a breakthrough for the infrastructure of the electric car industry and successfully completed the development of its technology and infrastructure,” said Dan Cohen, CEO of Better Place, in a statement .

Cohen said a lack of support from car makers contributed to Better Place’s fall.

Better Place’s business proposition drew controversy from the start. The company, founded in 2007, highlighted its plan to build stations where drivers could have their vehicles’ near-empty batteries replaced. They would pay a monthly fee that entitles them to the battery-replacement service whenever they needed. It also aimed to build charging stations where drivers could top off their batteries, perhaps while they shop or dine.

The startup’s executives were talking to leaders of many countries and large cities to drum up interest in the company’s business and help it overcome regulatory hurdles. The idea of swapping batteries came with lots of technical obstacles, however.

For one thing, Better Place needed carmakers to design their batteries and electric cars to make it easy to take out and replace those batteries. But getting carmakers to more or less standardize their vehicle deigns was understandably tough. Better Place lined up the Renault Renault -Nissan Alliance as its partner, and Renault engineered the Fluence Z.E. sedan with Better Place in mind.

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But many other carmakers who were rolling out electric cars didn’t bite.

Electric car sales also haven’t accelerated as quickly as expected by some car makers and their component suppliers. Meanwhile, some electric car startups are struggling. Fisker Automotive is on life support while Coda Automotive recently filed for bankruptcy.

Better Places’s founder, Shai Agassi, was a charismatic executive who excelled at raising funds. Agassi was forced out last year when the company’s mounting losses prompted the board to look for a new chief executive. Better Place was trying to raise $100 million in last November. Its most recent filing with the U.S.

Securities and Exchange Commission. dated Dec. 4, 2012, showed that it had raised $50 million.

Better Place’s investors include GE, UBS UBS. VantagePoint Venture Partners and Israel Corp Israel Corp .

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