Better Place, the Israel-based company that we’ve been talking about lately and that proposes battery swapping instead of charging, has seemingly found a savior in the person of Yosef Abramowitz, aka “Captain Sunshine.”
Abramowitz, known for building Israel’s first commercial solar field two years ago, wants to purchase Better Place’s assets and start over… this time maybe on more and free solar power, just to save money.
Better Place and the visionary behind it, Shai Agassi, wanted to make electric automakers adopt battery swapping. They only got Renault buy on the idea so far, but Elon Musk from Tesla Motors is no stranger to it, either. In the last shareholder meeting he talked a bit about a possible battery swapping program, although the company’s Superchargers are now able to deliver 120 kilowatts of energy and charge an 85 kWh battery in less than an hour.
Agassi’s Better Place used a complex and fairly expensive infrastructure that stored, charged, and deployed charged batteries to clients, and the whole process (to the customer) would have taken only about two minutes – less than it takes to fill up tank of gas.
Unfortunately, Agassi – the company’s founder – was ousted last year and short after they closed the U.S. and Australian operations. Now, Better Place only has money for one month left before it goes bankrupt.
Bad mouths say Better Place’s collapse is natural, as batteries and their charging systems have evolved so much in recent years that it only takes 20 minutes to charge a Spark EV (only 82 miles or range, though, compared to Tesla’s over 250). I would say Better Place was a bit ahead of its time – it went down before people started needing it. Well, time will tell…