Electric car company gets shot in the arm

Still a long way to go for project that aimed to feature half a million vehicles

 

Just over a month ago, the future of electric car venture Better Place in Denmark was in serious question, with CEO Jens Moberg resigning over what sources claimed were a power struggle within the California-based firm.

But the project to put up to 100,000 of the battery-powered vehicles on the country’s roads was given a huge boost this week through a new partnership with US industrial giant General Electric.

Less than 350 electric cars have been sold in Denmark, and the now three-year-old project has had difficulty getting in gear.

But as part of the new agreement, a pilot project will be implemented with GE providing 10,000 batteries for the first two Better Place markets, Denmark and Israel.

According to engineering weekly Ingeniøren, GE’s ‘Wattstation’ charging docks will be used and made compatible with the Better Place network.

According to Better Place Denmark’s new CEO, Morten Leth, the partnership with GE helps validate the Better Place model.

Better Place, which was founded by Israeli software mogul Shai Agassi, is an investor-based private project. It presently has industry partnerships with French automaker Renault and British bank HSBC.

The primary investor in the company’s Danish branch is Dong Energy, which is committed to putting 370 million kroner into the venture.

Originally, Better Place had a goal of putting half a million electric cars into operation in Denmark by 2020 but has lowered its expectations to between 20,000 and 100,000 for the period.





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