Better Place Electric Car Company Lays Off Staff?

better place, electric car, israel

In the wake of ousting its guru-like CEO visionary Shai Agassi, rumors are circulating that Better Place Israel will be laying off staff, about half of its workforce, according to Haaretz. The plan is to cut about half of its Israeli staff, numbering somewhere between 400 to 500 people.

The article states: “After anticipated development team layoffs, dismissals are expected among the staff in charge of the network of battery changing stations. The plans for the Israeli network call for 45 stations, 38 of which have already been built.”

I think this will turn out to be interesting because most of the cars sold in Israel were to company employees. As company policy, employees were asked to purchase new cars, though some of the employees found loopholes around it. Still, imagine getting sacked and having to drive around the car that will remind you every day that you don’t have a job?

The flailing company hasn’t seem to be able to meet the aggressive roll-out expectations set by Agassi over the last five years and also seeks a cash injection of about $150 million to keep the company afloat. Meanwhile there are talks in the air that the incoming CEO Evan Thornley from Australia has plans in the works with leading car companies such as General Motors, according to various media sources. Can this important EV enabling startup be salvaged?

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16 thoughts on “Better Place Electric Car Company Lays Off Staff?”

  1. As of yesterday, YNET Is reporting that Better Place is sacking staff:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4297860,00.html

    Some 150 R&D staff will be losing jobs… there you have it.

    1. Newer reports say 200 will be laid off.

  2. Tal Bar says:

    I work at Better Place for the last 3 years now.
    no one was asked to buy the car. nevertheless my parents and my brother each has purchased their own electric car, and are enjoying it tremendously.
    Personally, i don’t have a private parking, so i can’t buy one. (a private charge spot at home is mandatory)
    I personally think your article is full of disinformation, and it made me really sick reading it.
    If you don’t have anything smart to write, please don’t.

  3. SD – you are right. I have edited the article.

  4. sd says:

    That’s all well and good — so report *that*. I made a specific point: your article says BPI has *announced* a layoff. Your headline states that the layoff has already happened! Neither are true – it’s a simple as that.

    I’m not saying they are or aren’t planning to lay people off. I’m talking about the quality and accuracy of the reporting of the rumor.

    In fact, using a ‘proof’ for your article (the CVs) from the [anonymous, unsubstantiated] comments that appear on the article is bit backwards. Even if it is true, all it means is the BP employees have also heard the rumor… or suspect a possible layoff.

    I find your standoffish stubborness in refusing to acknowledge the simple point of the TOTALLY misleading headline – and towards your commenters (see your response to Nir), really off-putting. Going to have to take a break from your site for a bit if this is how you stand by your product.

  5. The fact that employees are submitting their CVs elsewhere, and that unnamed executives are talking about layoffs seems to point to layoffs in the near future, no? Of course the company won’t announce this now. They don’t want to tank. They want people to buy cars.

  6. sd says:

    The previous commenters are correct: the Haaretz article does not say “Better Place Israel has announced that it will be laying off staff, about half of its workforce”.

    There is no reference to any ‘announcement’ from Better Place.

    In fact, the quote is:
    “In a statement, Better Place said the company was assessing its current situation but no decisions have been made.”

    It’s one thing to simply copy a news story from another agency (and then besmirch the outlet you just lifted from in the comments).
    It’s quite another to do so badly.

  7. Well the proof is in the pudding.

  8. Dan says:

    I work in human resources, and we received many CV’s from employess of better place.

  9. Yuval,

    While I agree that Haaretz is very much slanted to the left and with news articles bordering on op-eds, I wouldn’t call it the least reputable rag in Israel. The opposite: I would call it the most reputable.

  10. Nir : according to this article in Haaretz they were:

    One former employee said that almost no one in the company’s real estate department bought an electric car, even though Better Place mandated that all employees have one as of six months ago. “Each one found his own way to avoid it: One didn’t have approval from his apartment building’s management committee; another lives too far from work. But it certainly raises questions when even employees don’t want the car.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/business/the-end-of-shai-agassi-s-one-man-show.premium-1.469581

  11. Nir Kouris says:

    “employees were asked to purchase new cars” = NOT TRUE!
    Fix your article.
    I work for better place.

    1. Nir -according to your public profile you are an independent brand manager not an employee of Better Place. Explain.

  12. yuval Brandstetter MD says:

    Haaretz is generally the least reputable of Israeli rags, and is so desperate for funds it will publish anything if paid enough. It will not refuse cash or ads coming from the traditional gas-car importers.
    None of the workers were forced to buy cars, many have leased cars, clearly marked as property of the leasing company, and new switch0stations are being opened and staffed on a weekly basis. Shai is a visionary but he is no car salesman, and right now Better Place, having proven the model works, needs two more ingredients. One: More models to be offered by renault and another major car maker to get on the band-wagon. Thornely seems to have that angle covered by creating an enterprise that will allow any car maker to introduce the EV conversion into an existing car model, starting with Holden Commodore, Holden GM Caprice and then the Cruze, which is a GM world car.
    Better Place with Thornley at the Helm may be the saviour of the Aussie and American car manufacturers, ready for any major oil-shock.
    Yuval Brandstetter MD
    Happy ZE driver

  13. Brian Blum says:

    Your post isn’t entirely accurate: Haaretz is speculating (based on unnamed company executives) that the company MAY lay off half its work force in Israel. And it’s true that BP hasn’t denied it. But BP has not announced that it is indeed laying off staff. (And if it does, it will hopefully be only a temporary correction – laying off R&D staff, now that the R&D is “done” for the moment – but hopefully keeping the sales staff. Of course, a hi-tech company without R&D is in trouble…but what is BP – hi or old tech?) My two bits (full disclosure, I own a BP car, so I have a somewhat vested interest in the company succeeding!

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