On Sunday night Better Place held a meeting for customers at their Visitor Centre in Glilot. Around 60 cars and their owners came. The meeting was largely to explain the circumstances surrounding the recent separation from the founder, Shai Agassi, and current developments and progress.
What I want to convey, however, is the nature of the comments from customers directed back at Better Place. The most serious complaint anyone had was that the Renault Fluence ZE (like a great many cars sold today) doesn’t have a spare tyre! It comes with a pump and a spray can of goop. I agree this is an issue, but it’s not really Better Place’s fault.
Beyond that and discussions of icing and range prediction, this group of customers were hugely interested in how Better Place can do better in selling the cars! This is almost contrary to a customer’s interests. The more cars there are, the greater the chance of having to wait for a battery but that doesn’t really enter our heads. We just want the company to succeed because we are all so overwhelmingly happy with the service and the car. Obviously it isn’t in anyone’s interest for Better Place to fail completely but this doesn’t explain the enthusiasm which existing owners have for explaining why they love their electric cars.
If I had to describe what was strange it was that the customers sounded more like frustrated salesmen not getting enough support from head office! Where is the advertising?; where is the multi-lingual communication?; why isn’t the CEO on TV or in the press attacking false claims? These are not the comments of customers, they’re more like concerned staff.
We discussed the navigation and range prediction system and the head of that program told us about the upgrades that are in the works. As I have noted, it’s excellent on the flat but does need work predicting range when hills are involved. A fix for this is coming very soon.
Here are a few of the tweets I sent out during the meeting: