Thursday, March 03, 2011

Lithium Drive: Better Place: Electric Car Charging Arrives in Ontario tnr.v, czx.v, lmr.v, rm.v, alk.ax, sqm, cgp.v, abn.v, ura.v, nup.ax, usa.ax, srz.ax, fmc, roc, lit, li.v, wlc.v, clq.v, res.v, ree, avl.to, nsany, f, gm, rno.pa, dai, byddf, hev, aone, vlnc


  Better Place have almost disappeared from the news after a big mass media hype and latest raise of money last year. Company looks like retreated to Israel and only its founder Shai Agassi is shining occasionally in the mass media and preaching about Electric Cars. We are grateful that he uses his media powers for the good, but not sure how his business is going.
  Our investments in Lithium and Rare Earths will be the big beneficiaries if his Better Place system will be in the market one day - swappable batteries require more Lithium batteries that there are Electric Cars on the road.  
  Last time we saw better place exposition in Frankfurt at the Motor show in 2009 and last year the company was not even presented at the Paris Motor show. We have not seen them at the recent US Auto shows and nothing is coming from Geneva so far.
  This video from Ontario gives us some hope that the company is still moving forward.

"We do not think that Better Place investors will be the most happy people in the EV investment world - model of Better Place can work in some places, but it is already under pressure. Roll out of this concept now seems to be very late and business model constantly changing with new twists in the company presentation materials. Idea to sell miles like minutes in mobile phone was good before Nissan Leaf and GM Volt came out in the market already. Why would you trade the difference between your existing gas bills and electricity utility bill? Before the reason was that the battery will be not your property, but the one of the Better Place and you will exclude all questions about  battery cost, its reliability and warranty out of your consumer decision process for purchase of EV. But now it looks like almost all automakers are moving with batteries fixed for the particular EV and extended warranties for the batteries.
  Better Place expositions have disappeared from Nissan and Renault displays at last year Paris 2010 Motor Show. Battery swapping stations will require a lot of CAPEX and it is not clear how return on this investments will be generated. So far there is no battery swappable EV on the market, Tesla with its model S was talking about it, but even Renault now propose to lease the battery with monthly payments - taking the most attractive competitive proposition of a better place. This approach could be the real game changer and address the most important questions related to the batteries at the initial stage of the market penetration.
  For our Lithium and REE market Better Place is a very important project in any way and we continue to follow its development - Shai Agassi has been promoting the EV sector for years and if his model will succeed in at least a few markets it will be the dramatic move forward for all EV concept. Idea with swappable batteries will actually require the larger lithium battery park than EVs signed for these operations, which will lead to additional demand for lithium."




A consortium led by Better Place and including Renault SA, Continental AG, TUEV Rheinland, Ernst & Young, KEMA and seven leading European institutions today announced formal approval from the European Commission for an R&D program to make it easier for European automobile and battery manufacturers to build electric cars with switchable batteries.  Today’s announcement is the first project for switchable battery electric cars approved by the Commission.
The project calls for the “EASYBAT” Consortium to develop “off-the-shelf” automotive grade components and interfaces that enable the auto industry to easily integrate battery switching technology into their electric car platforms.  
The EASYBAT solution will consist of interfaces for switching a battery in and out of an electric car quickly and safely; the connector interfaces between the car, the battery, the communications network, and the battery cooling system; and design specifications that meet European industry and safety standards. The solution will be integrated and tested on fully electric vehicles to ensure it meets production-grade manufacturing criteria and European safety standards.

press

European Commission Backs First Project for Battery Switch

March 2, 2011
Industry Leaders Better Place, Continental, Renault Form “EASYBAT” Consortium with Ernst & Young, TÜVRheinland, KEMA and Leading Research Institute
BRUSSELS (March 2, 2011)– A consortium coordinated by Better Place and including Renault SA, Continental, Ernst & Young, TÜV Rheinland, KEMA and five leading European institutions today announced formal approval from the European Commission for an R&D program to make it easier for European automobile and battery manufacturers to build electric cars with switchable batteries. Today’s announcement is the first project for switchable battery electric cars approved by the Commission.
The project calls for the “EASYBAT” Consortium to develop “off-the-shelf” automotive grade components and interfaces that enable the auto industry to easily integrate battery switching technology into their electric car platforms. The first large scale application of battery switching technology will be shown by Better Place and Renault with the commercial launch of the Renault Fluence Z.E. in Israel and Denmark by year end.
The EASYBAT solution will consist of interfaces for switching a battery in and out of an electric car quickly and safely; the connector interfaces between the car, the battery, the communications network, and the battery cooling system; and design specifications that meet European industry and safety standards. The solution will be integrated and tested on fully electric vehicles to ensure it meets production-grade manufacturing criteria and European safety standards.
Upon conclusion, EASYBAT will have a next generation, commercially available solution for battery switch integration components and design plans that allow for different types of batteries, not just a single standardized battery. Car manufacturers that want to focus on proprietary battery technology can do so and still be able to integrate their technology into a switchable battery electric car platform as envisioned by EASYBAT.
Part of the Seventh EU Framework Program (FP7), EASYBAT is a 2.5 year project, which is expected to run until June 2013. The European Commission will contribute 2.2 million to fund the project.
The EASYBAT Consortium brings together for the first time in one project, leaders in the fast-growing EV industry. Better Place, Renault and Continental will contribute their expertise in producing production-grade switchable battery electric cars. European standardization organizations, CEN/CENELEC, will facilitate the creation of agreements between the parties for the creation of consensus documents to facilitate standards development for battery switching.
TÜV Rheinland and KEMA will ensure that the EASYBAT solution complies with European safety directives and standards. Leading research institutes in Germany (RWTH Aachen, Fraunhofer Institute für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung, and Technische Universität München), Denmark (Danish Technological Institute) and Israel (University of Haifa) will team together to provide research support.
About the EASYBAT Consortium
The EASYBAT consortium consists of 11 European partners that come together from a wide spectrum of operational, industrial and academic fields. The members of the consortium include: Better Place (Israel) - the consortium coordinator, Ernst & Young (Israel) – the project administrator, Renault (France), RWTH Aachen (Germany), KEMA (Netherlands), Fraunhofer Institute für Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung (Germany), Danish Technological Institute (Denmark), Technische Universität München (Germany), TÜV Rheinland (Germany), University of Haifa (Israel), Continental Engineering Services GmbH (Germany).

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