Renault Breaks Partnership with Battery Exchange Station Creator Better Place
|   Saturday, June 01, 2013
Renault has announced the conclusion of the partnership with Better Place, the creator of the first network of stations to replace the batteries of electric cars. The collaboration, which began about five years ago, could not continue, as the Israeli provider will disband due to lack of liquidity.

The representatives of Better Place have already asked for the liquidation of the company in court after the financial deficit in 2012 exceeded the sum of 561.
million euros. The Israeli developer is no longer able to cover the operational costs and any future investments in the development of the international network of charging stations.

Better Place partnered with Renault in 2008 to create an electric car system combining charging terminals with battery swap stations to increase the range of electric cars and put an end to drivers' worries about running out of power.

Renault's partnership aimed at creating a chain of fast charging points, called QuickDrop. At this point the owners of electric cars could change exhausted batteries in less than five minutes with a set of new batteries. Thus, is not needed to lose several hours for a simple full of energy.

The idea proved, however, a huge failure, all because of electric car sales that are well below under the estimates. The ambitious target of 100,000 cars, established by Renault, for the Fluence ZE, remained only a beautiful dream. The French managed to sell only 1,000 units in Israel and 240 units in Denmark.

The Better Place computations that rely on subscriptions paid according to the number of kilometers between the two charges were completely invalidated. The charging station remained empty and the network already raised in Israel and Denmark proved too great for self-financing based on the daily revenue coming from the electric car owners.

The coup de grace came last week. Then, the Israel Corp, the largest investor and owner of 30 percent of the stake in the Israeli developer, decided to suspend any financing for current and future projects for Better Place. So, the fate of the company was decided.

"This is a very sad day for all of us. We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies," the company said. "Unfortunately, the path to realizing that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome."

"This is a difficult day for all of us," said Chief Executive Officer Dan Cohen.
"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," he said in a statement.

The company management, he said, requested the appointment of a voluntary liquidator who would decide on how to award compensation to customers and staff and maintain the network already in place.

Breaking the alliance with Better Place will not have any effect on Renault's strategy in the field. The French manufacturer will continue to provide after-sales service and guarantee for both present and future owners of the ZE range of electric models. At this time, the charging the battery can be done directly at conventional sockets.
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