The Israel-based EV infrastructure start-up filed a motion with the Lod District Court near Tel Aviv on May 26 asking for the dissolution of the company and the appointment of a temporary liquidator. The announcement comes just three months after Better Place cut funding of its Australian division to focus on its core markets, Israel and Denmark.
Better Place blamed the decision to wind up its international operations on its failure to raise additional funds and the absence of sufficient resources for the continued function of the business.
In a statement, the company said its management team had made fundamental changes over the past six months to save the business, focusing its strategy, goals and markets, while continuing to seek additional financing and secure additional models to supplement its current offer. Despite its effort, however, its revenue was still insufficient to cover operating costs, and in light of its continued negative cash flow position, the board of directors concluded it had no option but to apply for an orderly liquidation.
Better Place CEO Dan Cohen said despite the company serving many satisfied customers, it had become clear that sufficient support from car makers was not forthcoming and wider public take-up was below anticipated levels.
“Against that background, the most recent fundraising round was not successful,” Cohen said.
“In recent months, the management of the company did all that it could to keep the business operating.
“Today, in the light of our obligation to our staff, customers and creditors, we are applying to the court for the appointment of a temporary liquidator. The management is requesting the voluntary liquidator once appointed to decide as quickly as possible to award compensation to customers and staff and maintain the functioning of the network.”
The Better Place board of directors described Sunday as “a very sad day for all of us”.
“We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies.
“While he was able with partners and investors to overcome multiple challenges to demonstrate that it was possible to deliver a technological solution that would fulfil that vision, unfortunately the path to realising that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome.
“The technical challenges we overcame successfully, but the other obstacles we were not able to overcome, despite the massive effort and resources that were deployed to that end.”
The board says the most important thing to remember from the Better Place venture was that its intentions were good.
“The purpose and concept of the business was to deliver a positive change in the world in which we live. We know that there is no certainty in any venture. It requires daring, courage, determination and resources in order to turn a venture into a sustainable industry.
“The vision is still valid and important and we remain hopeful that eventually the vision will be realised for the benefit of a better world. However, Better Place will not be able to take part in the realisation of this vision.”
Better Place opened its first charging station in Israel in December 2008. It intended to roll out extensive networks of electric vehicle charging and battery switch stations in Israel, Denmark, Australia and China, although those plans took a hit in October 2012 when the company was forced to request US$100 million in emergency funding just days after founder Agassi resigned as CEO.