Better Place was a venture-backed international company that developed and sold battery-charging and battery-switching services for electric cars. It was formally based in Palo Alto, California, but the bulk of its planning and operations were steered from Israel, where both its founder Shai Agassi and its chief investors resided.
The company opened its first functional charging station the first week of December 2008 at Cinema City in Pi-Glilot near Tel Aviv, Israel The first customer deliveries of Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars enabled with battery switching technology began in Israel in the second quarter of 2012, and at peak in mid September 2012, there were 21 operational battery-swap stations open to the public in Israel.
Better Place filed for bankruptcy in Israel in May 2013. The company’s financial difficulties were caused by mismanagement, wasteful efforts to establish toeholds and run pilots in too many countries, the high investment required to develop the charging and swapping infrastructure, and a market penetration far lower than originally predicted by Shai Agassi. Less than 1,000 Fluence Z.E. cars were deployed in Israel and around 400 units in Denmark, after spending about US$850 million in private capital. After two failed post-bankruptcy acquisition attempts, the bankruptcy receivers sold off the remaining assets in November 2013 to Grngy for only $450,000.