A group of equity investors led by HSBC have expressed a big vote of confidence in the electric vehicle infrastructure concept being proposed by Better Place with a new $350 million funding round. The investment, which values the company at $1.25 billion, is expected to close by the end of March and includes $125 million from HSBC for a ten percent stake in Better Place. Better Place still plans to deploy nationwide networks of charging points and battery exchange stations in Israel and Denmark by the end of 2011, with smaller regional networks in Australia and California the following year.
Unfortunately, other than investors and the governments involved, only Renault-Nissan has expressed any support whatsoever for the battery exchange concept. Renault has committed to producing a single electric vehicle model with swappable batteries. Every other automaker has described the idea as unworkable while battery technology is still in a relative state of flux. Since many of the batteries that the automakers use have liquid cooling systems and because the large packs are being designed as an integral part of the vehicle structure, it seems unlikely anyone else will come aboard anytime soon.
During a press conference this morning, Better Place CEO Shai Agassi revealed that the company is also working on significant additional funding in the various countries where its subsidiaries are operating. Agassi expects to raise enough money to allow the company to operate and deploy until it reaches profitability in 2013 or so. The public charging stations will probably comprise the bulk of what Better Place ends up doing. Access to those charging stations will be a critical part of the success of EV deployment in the coming years.
Gallery: Better Place battery swap station
[Source: Better Place]
Better Place raises another $350M in series B venture funding originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Mon, 25 Jan 2010 12:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.