A pregnant me at the very sunny Better Place visitor center last year.
With the launch of the first nationwide electric car networks rolling out in Israel and with Denmark just months away, the electric car company Better Place today reports that it has secured another $200 million in financing, on top of the $55o million already invested in it. The company which is developing infrastructure for electric cars and thus speeding up the process of getting a quick “charge” needed for electric cars, says it will use the money to expand its business in Western Europe. It will also build on projects in Northern California, Southern China, Japan, Ontario, Canada, and Hawaii.
According to a recent press announcement the company will go fully commercial in both Israel and Denmark early in 2012, although a pilot run of the Better Place charge stations around Israel is supposed to be in effect. By the second quarter of 2012, Better Place expects to go commercial in Canberra, Australia.
“We’ve worked hard over the past four years to engineer and build a technology solution that competes with oil-based transportation,” said Shai Agassi, the founder and CEO.
Investors in the Series C round include General Electric, and UBS AG, among others, with existing shareholders including Israel Corp., HSBC Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Ofer Group and Maniv Energy Capital.
We get a lot of announcements and updates from the company. Here’s what’s happening on the ground:
In Israel, Better Place has seen a demand from both fleets and consumers, as over 400 corporations, representing a potential of 80,000 employee cars, have signed letters of intent to begin switching their fleets to Better Place as the cars and the service become available.
In Denmark almost 7,000 people have come to the Better Place Center in Copenhagen, opened earlier this year, with 90 percent expressing an interest in buying an electric car in the future. The company has received over 1,000 pre orders from both private and business customers. Better Place also has been successful in reaching agreements with 50 of the country’s 98 municipalities, covering 69 percent of the population, related to infrastructure deployment and fleet transitions.
In Australia, the company’s first large country deployment, Better Place has announced a series of agreements with multi-national companies, including Renault and GE, and leading local companies including ActewAGL, Lend Lease, and the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria (RACV), for the introduction of electric cars and the rapid deployment of an electric car network.
By the end of 2013, Better Place expects to have the largest electric car network in the world in Australia, rivaling other competitive efforts underway in the US and China.
Would I drive a Better Place car? With the roads getting tighter, and air pollution getting worse everywhere, I think that this might be one of the only fully electric car solutions that could work –– at least for the people who are commuting to work and who need to know they can get a quick charge while out on the road. People like myself who drive short distances only would be fine buying an all electric car that can be charged at home.