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'The goal is to sell thousands of electric cars in Israel in 2013' Photo: Ronen Topelberg
'The goal is to sell thousands of electric cars in Israel in 2013' Photo: Ronen Topelberg
 
 

Better Place looks to expand to China

Dan Cohen appointed electric car venture' acting CEO following Evan Thornley's departure. At this stage, company plans to focus on marketing activities in Israel and Denmark

Tomer Hadar, Calcalist
Published: 01.24.13, 13:08 / Israel Business

Dan Cohen was appointed this week as the acting CEO of Global Better Place and Better Place Israel. Cohen, who served as the company's VP strategy up to a year ago, was in charge of planning its expansion to global markets.

 

Cohen is replacing the Australian Evan Thornley, who stepped down after just three months following disagreements with controlling shareholder Idan Ofer.

 

Uncertainty
Better Place hit by order cancelations  / Tomer Hadar, Calcalist
Company says it sold 48 electric cars in auto show; however, half of buyers cancel order following replacement of CEO
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Ofer believes that at this stage, the company should focus on marketing activities in Israel and Denmark, which already have full infrastructure deployment. Nonetheless, company officials say Cohen's appointment was not random.

 

"After Better Place proves its ability to sell electric cars in these two main markets, attempts will be made in about a year to expand to Europe, and at a later stage – in about five years – to the Chinese market, which Cohen is very familiar with."

 

Volker Steinwascher, the vice chairman of the Qoros automobile company, which is owned by Israel Corporation (Better Place's parent company) and China's Chery Automobile, said recently that the company planned to launch an electric car before 2017.

 

Company sources explain that its success in Israel and Denmark is critical in terms of its ability to raise capital. They believe that the company will require an additional cash infusion at the end of the first quarter of 2013.

 

"The company must show its investors results in Israel and in Denmark. The goal is to carry out aggressive infiltration moves and sell thousands of cars in Israel in 2013," one of the sources says.

 

The source adds that after additional vehicles hit the road, the company will find the time to deal with existing problems: "There is no doubt that in the future the network of battery switch stations will be reinforced, mainly in the Sharon region."

 

Company sources stress that the waves of layoffs have ended, but that further marginal cuts are expected in order to increase efficiency.

 

 

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