Last month Israel’s Better Place rolled out their all-electric vehicle network to the Israeli public with much fanfare. Of the hundreds of civilians that bought the cars, warm reviews of excitement ensued. Pictures and photo ops were maximized. Since opening the car sales channel to the public the number of Better Place cars on the road now exceeds the number of Better Place cars being driven by company employees. The company also released news that it had set an electric car distance world record, garnering some fresh enthusiasm for the business.
But a new report warns that the company is seriously bleeding cash, suggesting it’s light years away from putting 10,000 cars on the road – its break even point.
Even after recent news of a $40 million Euro loan, in order to set up a network in Denmark and continue deployment in Israel, the company is ripping through cash. Much of it being spent on PR, public education and wrapping.
Will the Better Place car network and its rechargeable battery stations survive the long-term? I have a feeling that unless it starts to make its car the much cheaper alternative to driving a petrol-powered car in Israel, it will not. The Renault cars aren’t attractive, or different looking.
The Prius hybrid (the most popular green car in Israel) at least stands out for its unusual shape, providing drivers some status.
I am not sure that there are enough people willing to put their money on buying a car from a company that could fail. if Israel were a car manufacturing powerhouse like Italy or America, the faith could be there.
Israel’s claim to fame, and notoriety so far in the auto industry is the old Israeli car, the Susita, a lemon of a car that is rumored to have found favor among hungry camels that would munch on them.