Better Place and GE to Target Commercial Fleets for EV Testing

Better Place and GE to Target Commercial Fleets for EV Testing

Better Place, the high-profile Californian firm working on a new model for recharging electric vehicles, last week pulled off another major coup, inking a technology and financing deal with engineering giant General Electric (GE) that should accelerate the roll-out of its battery recharging infrastructure.

The two companies said they had agreed to work together on a number of fronts, including standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.

The deal will provide a further boost to Better Place's plans to roll out a network of battery swap stations that allow electric vehicle owners to swap empty batteries for recharged ones as part of a battery leasing deal with the company.

In particular, GE will ensure that its new WattStation charging point is compatible with Better Place's battery swap system, while the two companies will also work together on a pilot scheme to finance 10,000 batteries in Better Place's initial target markets of Israel and Denmark.

In addition, Better Place signaled that it will work alongside GE to target business customers with its technology, confirming that it was already looking for fleet operators in San Francisco, Hawaii and Ontario, as well as a number of European, Asian and Australian cities, to take part in pilot projects.

"GE and Better Place are collaborating to target fleet owners for pilot projects to test a comprehensive fleet electrification offering model in major city centres and connecting highways," the company said in a statement. "The goal is to convert corporate fleet owners to electric fleets, so owners reap both the economic benefits of lower cost of ownership, as well as reducing harmful carbon emissions."

It added that the first trials could get underway as early as next year.

Shai Agassi, the former software entrepreneur who founded Better Place, said that the alliance further strengthened the company's roster of high-profile partners.

"Our collaboration with GE is another significant step forward for Better Place as we seek to assemble a formidable ecosystem of industry leaders, including Renault, HSBC and now GE, that can help us scale our model globally," he said. "Our team of partners is committed to accelerating the acceptance of electric cars as more affordable and more convenient than our gasoline heritage."

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com and is reprinted with permission.