Better Place, a company aiming to create the world's first network of electric car charging stations, has lost over NIS 1.5 billion ($433 million) since 2009, according to a report released by Israel Corp., which holds 32% of the company's shares.
According to the report, Better Place lost a record sum of NIS 760 million ($204 million) over the course of 2011 – a quarter billion shekels less than it lost the previous year.
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The bulk of the funds went towards the establishment of charging infrastructure in Israel and Denmark, as well research and development.
Better Place is set to begin electric cars sales in the two countries later this year, a move that is expected to yield major returns. The company said recently it anticipates to sell 4,000 electric cars in Israel by the end of the year.
Electric car in battery changing station (Photo: Ronen Topelberg)
But the report suggests that the initiative is not progressing in accordance with the goals that it has set. As per a contract signed with Renault, Better Place was expected to sell 115,000 electric cars in Denmark and Israel between 2011 and 2016 – which means the company would have to move some 25,000 cars a year to reach that goal, provided sales begin in the second quarter of 2012.
Hitting the target would make Better Place one of Israel's largest car importers, but many experts in the market expect that the goal is unrealistic.
Despite past statements claiming that the company is close to signing deals with car manufacturers other than Renault, it has yet to secure any such contracts.
Moreover, according to the Israel Corp., the company has only received 100 electric car orders so far from Danish customers, even though it launched activity in the European country four years ago.
"Over the past four years, Better Place has invested some $400 million in the development and construction of national infrastructure," the company said in response. "The company has enlisted NIS 2.7 billion in private capital, a large part of which has been invested in the development of technology… and the creation of hundreds of jobs across the country."