Sunrise Ltd, the court-appointed new owners of Israel’s Better Place electric vehicle company, now known as Green EV, is struggling to pay the company’s liquidators, and other potential buyers are asking the courts to reassign assets. Green EV is having a hard time paying off its bills, and that is surprising? Step in for a short history lesson.
Yosef Abramowitz (a.k.a. Captain Sunshine), Henry Shiner, and the Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car in Israel mobilized with very short notice to take over Better Place Israel and purchase Better Place Switzerland’s intellectual property after the previous owners filed for bankruptcy.
Hi ideas was to sell off the existing Better Place cars waiting at the Israeli port in order to pay off immediate bills, but his plan is backfiring:
“While we won better place assets, govt is denying us 350 cars, which were going to be sold to meet our expenses and payments,” Abramowitz told Green Prophet.
Better Place’s former model teetered on the edge of being monopolistic, Captain Sunshine and his posse of electric vehicle supporters and electric Renault Fluence car owners are completely re-wiring its ethos, or “branding.”
In keeping with the traditional Jewish values behind the Israeli Kibbutz, Sunshine is relying on the crowd and their goodwill to achieve this idealistic re-wiring.
When we first reported the rather jubilant news that the brand new coalition of EV-lovers had been appointed to purchase Better Place, investors had committed to paying one quarter of the funds necessary, but Abramowitz said in a statement at the time that the company needed to raise an additional $36 million.
That was just three weeks ago.
“Sunrise executive Shiner has promised to pay NIS 2 million to Better Place’s liquidation account on Monday in order to close the deal,” Globes reports.
“The payment, ordered by the court, will cover Better Place Israel’s salaries and rent.”
Better Place blew through a lot of cash, so it’s understandable for investors to feel shaky about the company’s new future, but we ought to give Sunrise Ltd. a fighting chance. It and its backers have taken on an enormous risk for virtually zero personal gain.
If Abramowitz’s previous accomplishments are anything to go by, the new Better Place has the potential to function as an engine of cooperation and sharing, one that could eventually have significant environmental benefits as well.
But it will take them time (time they deserve to take given the experimental nature of their business model) in order to raise the appropriate amount of funds and rally supporters who share their strong, anti-capitalistic moral foundation.
Skip over to Globes for a rundown of the nitty gritty.
Update: According to the JPost the court has released the cars, and the show (hopefully) will go on.