Israeli startup buys up bankrupt electric car firm

Nov 21, 2013

An Israeli energy startup has taken over the remains of Israel's trailblazing—and now bankrupt—electric car venture, the new owner said Thursday.

Ran Eloya, founder and CEO of Gnrgy Ltd., said his company bought the remaining assets of Better Place for less than $450,000, a fraction of its $2 billion valuation less than two years ago.

Better Place filed for liquidation in May, six years after promising to revolutionize the auto industry by reducing the world's oil dependency. The company burned through hundreds of millions of dollars building a network of chargers and battery-swapping stations, but experienced poor sales.

Eloya said his company would focus on operating the 1,800 public charging spots that service Israel's more than 1,000 electric cars but would not sell cars or provide battery-swap services as Better Place did. Officials in the Israeli economics ministry and the courts said they were not immediately aware of the deal.

Better Place launched its operations in 2007 to great fanfare, starting out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel's status as a global high-tech power. But it shut down in May after failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public.

It capped a stunning fall from grace for Better Place and its founder Shai Agassi. He believed that in an era of global warming and rising oil prices, environmentally friendly electric cars could be the wave of the future, if a way could be found to overcome the limited range of their batteries.

Agassi could not be reached for comment Thursday.

The project won the support of President Shimon Peres, received generous financial incentives from the Israeli government and an endorsement from former U.S. President Bill Clinton. In roughly five years, Better Place raised some $850 million from investors like General Electric Co., HSBC Holdings PLC and the European Investment Bank.

Explore further: Colombia transforms old tires into green housing

More information: Gnrgy Ltd.: www.gnrgy.com

Related Stories

Israeli electric car company CEO steps down

Oct 02, 2012

(AP)—He has been the poster boy for Israel's powerhouse technology industry and a leading proponent of a great dream—to end the world's addiction to oil.

Recommended for you

Battery bounce test inaccurate measure of charge

10 hours ago

Don't throw away those bouncing batteries. Researchers at Princeton University have found that the common test of bouncing a household battery to learn if it is dead or not is not actually an effective way ...

Colombia transforms old tires into green housing

23 hours ago

The highlands around the Colombian capital are scattered with small buildings that look like out-of-place igloos but are in fact innovative houses made from the tires that litter the country's roads.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.