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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Effective immediately, Shai Agassi has been replaced as CEO at electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place. Better Place has raised more than $1 billion in venture capital and private equity to roll out its system in Israel and Denmark. The company is not profitable.

One report cited massive losses.

http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2012/10/02/better-place-founder-and-ceo-replaced.html

I don't know what this means, but it doesn't sound good. I still think the Chevy Volt is a better solution than monthly battery rental payments.
 

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Interesting. I heard an interview with him on NPR some time back (how is it that I've so thoroughly lost my ability to keep track of time? Months? Years? I forget). Anyway, It sounded like a very good solution at the time, and actually when I started up the most recent round of "OK, really, it's time to get an electric car now" I rather yearned for this option, but now that I have a Volt, I find I like the solution GM came up with. It's perfect for my 30 mile average daily commute.
 

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I could never understand the business model for PBP. I think this is likely the end or they'll morph into something that makes more sense.
 

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I live in America and I'm so disgusted with the Middle East addiction, I hope to never use a drop of gas. Electric power tools, car, lawn mower, the works. NO GAS. Now, imagine living in Israel surrounded by that nutty world of hate fueled by American petrol dollars. Yes, I'd buy an electric in 2 minutes over there.
 

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Better Place's business model doesn't resonate with me either; even less so in small geographic areas like Israel, Denmark, and the Netherlands. Australia is the next infrastructure roll out region, and geographically it is quite different. It will be interesting to see if they can find a way to become profitable down there.

It makes sense that the other stockholders would want Thornley (an Australian) managing locally and controlling costs. Agassi remains on the board and continues to hold his investment.
 

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The fundamental problems I see with BP's model are handling peak demand and the model being wiped out by future battery price drops.

There are additional problems of getting enough trust and buy-in to attract subscribers, but those would be transitional issues.

I think they might have been better off trying to focus on the taxi market.
 

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As with most business models, there is a limited window of opportunity for the model to take hold and prosper. The longer it takes for Better Place to get their vehicles and infrastructure in place, the less likely it is that the business model will succeed.

Better Place is based on the cell phone business model in which phones were sold cheap or given away free as long as you pay for the service. I can't say that the model translates perfectly, because the vehicle without a battery was still sold in the $10K - $20K range, but that is still cheaper than a $35 - 40K LEAF. The batteries are then leased, which is similar to the cellular service plan, so providers make money on the long term contracts, and not the upfront product deliveries.

The forces closing the window of opportunity:

1) Competing approaches [hybrids, plug-in hybrids, alternative fuel ICE (CNG, alcohols, diesel, hydrogen), fuel cell vehicles, etc.] are rapidly approaching viability, and have taken hold much more quickly.

2) Battery prices are dropping, decreasing the value proposition of the Better Place business model compared to the above alternatives

3) Charging infrastructure is smaller / cheaper / simpler than swapping stations, and proliferating far more rapidly.

4) Gasoline prices have stablized at $4.00 / gallon, and Americans are acclamating to them.

The forces propping open the window of opportunity:

1) Battery power / energy densities are increasing very slowly, which keeps their practical range implementation low and their recharge times high, maintaining the value for swapping.

2) Many automakers simply let Nissan and GM take the lead and sat on their product offerings that would compete with Better Place, buying Better Place more time to implement their business model.

I don't think that Better Place needed to concentrate only on fleet sales of vehicles and infrastructure. Selling to consumers directly doesn't prohibit sales to fleets, etc., so I think it increases their chances.

Overall, I think the existence of Better Place pushes automakers and battery suppliers to elevate their game to provide more viable options, which is what free market competition is all about - serving the consumer.
 

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Interesting development.. we'll have to see how that shapes up. I could imaging some of their investors applying pressure and being unhappy with the slow pace.

I like the Better Place model.. I see it as a good EV model for dense cities where people don't have a place to plug in. In Isreal and netherlands many people live in apartments, and park on the street. The battery swap is not just about getting them in for the subscripton, its about allowing them to switch to EV in the first place.
 

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I see it as a good EV model for dense cities where people don't have a place to plug in.

Great observation! Yes, it does address the major issue for apartment dwellers.
 

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I see it as a good EV model for dense cities where people don't have a place to plug in. In Isreal and netherlands many people live in apartments, and park on the street. The battery swap is not just about getting them in for the subscripton, its about allowing them to switch to EV in the first place.
This is why God invented Car2Go. It not only eliminates the need to find a place to plug in, it eliminates needing to find a place to park, which is a bigger problem.

Not only is BPP too expensive and overly reliant of a given technology during a time of rapidly changing technology, it assumes brain dead consumers who, having taken great care of their battery pack, would willingly swap out their well cared for battery pack for one someone else didn't want. If the Nissan Leaf used BPP I guarantee you that all those Arizona Leafers would be showing up at the San Diego BPP swap stations.
 

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Not only is BPP too expensive and overly reliant of a given technology during a time of rapidly changing technology, it assumes brain dead consumers who, having taken great care of their battery pack, would willingly swap out their well cared for battery pack for one someone else didn't want. If the Nissan Leaf used BPP I guarantee you that all those Arizona Leafers would be showing up at the San Diego BPP swap stations.
I think this misses the point of the Better Place model - with it, you never own the battery pack at all. Changing packs is done as casually as filling up gasoline.

Disappointing that it's not doing well financially; the business hurdles are really high during the transition. It's a good vision, but there might not be a way to get there.
 

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BP makes sense for a country like Israel. Gas prices are $9/g and people live in apartment building so there is no place to charge at night.
The problem with it though that moving a customer to EREV, let alone EV, let alone battery-swapped car is too much change for an average person to consider. The other problem is that only one car model, a Renault, allows for battery swap. So the early adapters has only one choice. I wish BP well, but it is an uphill battle.
 

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Shai Agassi has resigned from Better Place board

Shai refused being a vice president, but said he will stay as a board member.
Now he left Better Place completely.
 

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The Israeli CEO, Moshe Kaplinsky has resigned as well. The sister and brother of Shai Agassi, Daphna and Tal, worked as chiefs for infrastructure and marketing, have also left Better Place Israel. The spokeswoman has resigned. After a third of the Israeli employees were fired, another third is supposed to be fired soon.
It looks like they could not sell almost any car at all. Maybe they can't bring the price low enough to be cheaper than gasoline cars. They have to pay only 8% tax on the cars instead of around 70% for regular cars. And they still could not compete with gasoline drivers that have to pay 100% tax for every gallon of fuel.
 

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Better Place was just sold for 12 million USD only

the buyer is a group named Sunrise, lead by Yosef Abramovich. Sunrise operates in the solar power industry.
only 15 of 37 swap stations will remain in operation in Israel. this for 2 years.
the amount was 43 Million shekel (NIS)
the amount may grow by 20 million USD over time, if there will be a use for the patents of the company.
The company spent 750 million USD in 5 years.

http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ynet.co.il%2Farticles%2F0%2C7340%2CL-4403347%2C00.html&act=url
 
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