Cars Better Place Battery Swap Station

Published on July 12th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Better Place Sold To Sunrise Group For $12 Million

July 12th, 2013 by  

Better Place, the organization that tried to introduce the concept of battery swapping for electric cars on a large scale but went bankrupt, has just been sold to “Sunrise Group” for $12 million.

Since its start in 2007, Better Place lost $823 million and only sold 950 electric vehicles. It will live on a bit now that it has been bought by Sunrise Group. Sunrise will continue to operate 15 of Better Place’s stations in Israel and keep 50 of its 85 employees as part of this deal. $4.9 million of the purchase is for Better Place’s Israeli assets, while $6.9 million is for Better Place Switzerland’s intellectual property.

Better Place Battery Swap Station

Better Place Station.
Image Credit: Better Place on Facebook.

Sunrise happens to be run by Yosef Abramowitz, who previously showed an interest in Better Place.

The question many are now asking is: “Is the problem the battery swapping concept itself, or the way in which Better Place went about applying it?”

The fate of even great ideas can be terrible at the hands of the wrong people.

As we’ve now seen, Tesla is actually getting into the battery swapping arena. However, there are still strong criticisms against the viability of the concept. We’ll have to wait and see what Abramowitz does with Better Place.

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Senlac

    In five years time, EV battery capacity will increase, charge times will decrease, both buy not a small amount. The only need for battery swapping will be for upgrading your battery. Fleet cars/vans and Taxis etc.. are good uses for swapping which may remain relevant over time.

    • Bob_Wallace

      I think you’re probably correct. Capacity/range will increase. Charge times are already short enough (~90% in <20 minutes).

      Here's what I think will happen. Restaurants/stores close to major highways will install fast chargers in their parking lots. Chargers with ~3 cords per charger. Charge in sequence.

      You'll drive in and hook up. Then you'll be free to eat/shop for as much as an hour before you'll need to move your car so someone else can hook up. If you're the first to plug in you'll get charged in less than 20 minutes but you won't have to move right away.

      Merchants/restaurants will provide these rapid chargers at a very attractive price because they will bring in business. Many gas stations make little from selling gas, their main profits come from the mini-market stuff.

      There are hundreds of EV taxis in use already. They rapid charge during driver meal breaks. They seem to be doing fine without battery swapping.

  • shecky vegas

    The concept was okay but it was applied wrong. Nobody wants “once size fits all” for their vehicle and that includes the battery, despite the plethora of lead acids. Battery swapping would’ve worked better in a fleet system rather than in terms of the general public.

  • the only way to save Better Place is to give a kick in the ass to Shai
    Agassi and ask the REAL inventor of this proposal …
    gaetanomarano .it/articles/033cellphoneCAR. html

  • wattleberry

    Don’t know if it was a factor here, but many early projects founder for being too far-sighted, having to spend too much for pioneering work when demand has yet to be created. Hopefully, though, that work is not wasted and forms the foundation for use later.

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