Electric car company Better Place files for bankruptcy in Israel

May 26, 2013

JTA Wire Service

The electric car company Better Place filed for bankruptcy in an Israeli court.

In a motion filed Sunday in Tel Aviv’s Central District Court to dissolve the company, Better Place said it was looking for a temporary liquidator.

The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., fired about half its staff last October. It lost $812 million last year,  the Israeli business daily Globes reported.

Better Place, which had pledged to build electric car charging stations throughout Israel, provides charging spots and battery-switch stations for the Renault Fluence ZE. Fewer than 1,000 of the electric cars have been sold in Israel since they went on the market last year.

Better Place had raised more than $850 million in investments since its founding in 2007, but it would have needed at least another four years and added investment of some $500 million to break even, according to Globes.

“We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies,” the company’s management said in a statement issued Sunday. “The vision is still valid and important and we remain hopeful that eventually the vision will be realized for the benefit of a better world.

“However, Better Place will not be able to take part in the realization of this vision.”

Agassi, the Israeli-American founder of Better Place, was ousted by its board of directors last year and later resigned from the board.

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