Better Place, a world leader in developing and manufacturing battery-powered cars, is filing for bankruptcy in Israel. The announcement of the business’s bankruptcy comes just 7 months after the ouster of the company’s founder, Shai Agassi, and 5 months after the departure of his successor as well. Despite massive research and investment in electric vehicles, Better Place will be filing for bankruptcy because of a lack of public demand and support from car companies. An estimated 2,000 users drive the Renault Fluence ZE in Israel.
Better Place After the Business Bankruptcy
In 2007, Better Place was founded to introduce battery-powered cars to the mainstream public. Instead of gas stations, users would be able to stop at battery-swapping stations once their power source ran low. Over $700 million was raised from major backers, such as General Electric and Morgan Stanley, but when public interest failed to take off, talks of filing for bankruptcy solidified into reality.
Better Place and its associates assumed that increased popularity was inevitable, especially with the rising oil prices. But even when General Motors was filing for bankruptcy and oil prices climbed above $125 a barrel, Better Place was unable to successfully break into the market. As Better Place begins the process of a business bankruptcy, it is unknown what the company will do with its assets. Currently, a liquidation motion has been filed in Israel.
With over 2,000 customers in Israel, Better Place battery-swapping stations will remain open temporarily to service existing customers despite the business bankruptcy. However, customers will have to make alternative plans for traveling once the stations eventually shut down.
Better Place battery-swapping stations could exchange batteries in 5 minutes or less, similar to a stop at a gas station. With so many existing happy customers, many experts believe that battery-powered cars could still have a future in the industry, despite Better Place’s business bankruptcy. Only one question remains: who will lead the charge for battery-powered cars?