Renault said it is ending a five-year partnership with “Better Place LLC” after the operator of EV charging stations today announced plans to shut down. Better Place filed a motion for liquidation in Israel on Sunday after failing to attract new investments.
Renault collaborated with Better Place in 2008 and even developed the Fluence ZE to the Israeli company’s requirements in order to make it compatible with Better Place’s battery-replacing stations. Using the QuickDrop service, owners of Renault Fluence ZE could switch the battery in one of Better Place’s stations in each country in less than five minutes.
“We’re currently working to continue to ensure after-sales services for all the electric cars in Israel, where more than 80 percent of Better Place’s activity takes place. The investment in the partnership hasn’t been significant,” said Gilles Normand, head of Renault’s Asia-Pacific operations.
In 2009, Renault and Better Place said they aimed to sell 100,000 units Fluence ZE cars in Israel and Denmark by 2016. Renault has so far sold 1,000 Fluence electric cars in Israel and 240 in Denmark, a Renault spokeswoman said, adding that owners of the vehicles can still charge the cars themselves at home. “The Renault network in Israel and in Denmark will continue to provide after-sales servicing for Fluence Z.E. and these vehicles’ batteries,” Renault said in a statement.
“I regret what’s happened. But it doesn’t call into question our initiative in favor of electric vehicles, nor does it call into questions our support for batteries that can be swapped,” Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn said.
By Dan Mihalascu
Story References: Renault and Reuters