To Own the Battery or Not?

Matthew DeBord finds Better Place's business model falling 'akwardly' between plug-in hybrids and pure-electric cars.

Published: 30-Dec-2009

Gas 2.0’s Christopher DeMorro brings up Better Place’s proposed battery-swapping scheme for a new generation of affordable electric cars, only to ... well, sorta kinda join the list of Better Place skeptics. For background, Better Place is an aggressive startup that wants to take batteries out of the electric-car equation for owners: You own the car, but Better Place owns the battery. When you run out of juice, you visit a battery-swapping station and get a new battery. This enables the EV to be priced at a competitive $20,000 or so.

Here’s DeMorro’s complaint:

“Personally, I like the idea of owning every part of my car, and the idea of being under contract to my car dealer isn’t all that appealing. Such a contract would no doubt carry stipulations and dozens of ways to void your warranty, and what happens if Better Place’s plan doesn’t quite work out? Are you left with a $20,000 paper weight?”

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