New Better Place Direction


The CEO of Better Place, Evan Thornley, has been talking to the Israeli press today starting to lay out new directions for the company to move in.

The Israeli media seem to be pushing the line that battery switching is not working. My take is that the company is looking at opening revenue streams in markets where battery switching will not be established soon.

Despite what the American media might say, and possibly because of over enthusiastic subsidies, fully electric or range extended electric cars have had moderate success in parts of Europe. Holland and Norway have significant numbers now.

By offering simple charging services to these cars and bringing to the table their far advanced capabilities for grid balancing and especially excellent customer service, Better Place do have something to offer. But that’s not to say the European markets aren’t already full of people offering charging services.

I’m still convinced that I wouldn’t have bought an electric car but for the battery switching. But I do also know that my wife could easily drive a car with a 100km range and never think twice about it. There just isn’t a suitable model on the market.

There is an interesting report from the US which shows that buysers of the Nissan Leaf electric car in the US opt to lease rather than buy. This is an inversion of normal US Nissan customers where buyers outnumber leasers. This, to my eye, confirms that people don’t want to buy an electric car’s battery at this point. Something that is also key to Better Place’s strategy with or without battery switching.

Meanwhile I passed through 10,000 kms with my car (and taking into account loaned cars) I’ve now driven more than 11,500 km or 7,000 electric miles. Take that OPEC.

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