The forlorn photo of empty EV car charging posts says it all. Better Place, the electric car infrastructure company founded by entrepreneur Shai Agassi has still not found a buyer willing to come up with the actual money needed to purchase it. After declaring bankruptcy in May, 2013, the company appeared to be headed to a very uncertain future for both the company and its nearly 1,000 EV car purchasers. This included actual liquidation of company assets and closure of the company’s unique battery swap stations.
Since then, several potential purchasers have come forward with offers to purchase Better Place and try to turn it into a going concern. These purchasers included Yosef Abramowitz, a co-founder of the Arava Power solar energy company and known to friends as “Captain Sunshine” ; and an Israeli parking lot network owner, Tzachi Merkur of Success Investments.
Neither Captain Sunshine nor Tzachi Merkur were able to actually come up with the money needed to finalize the deal, which also included the release from the customs authority of 300 Better Place EV cars.
Merkur, who formed a concern called EV Net Group to deal with Better Place, failed to come up at the end of September with 20% of the agreed purchase price of NIS 1.8 ($505,000). Although they did give a post-dated check from a foreign bank, it was not considered by the bankruptcy court as being “acceptable“.
Better Places’ destiny might be tied to a company based in Iceland, Northern Lights Energy, which recently expressed an interest to purchase 1,000 electric SUV’s from AMP Holding Inc. NLE works in both the energy and transportation fields; and has also expressed interest in Better Place. NLE head Gisli Gislason considers Better Place to be “a great value and a great idea. Shai Agassi was a visionary.”
It remains to be seen what will happen next. Local reports are saying that by today Better Place chargers will be disconnected from their power source until bills are paid. You don’t pay, you don’t get a charge.
Photo by Maurice Picow for Green Prophet
More articles on the demise and resurrection attempts for Better Place: