Better Place Joins Japan Ministry of Environment EV Project; First Demo of Battery Exchange Mechanism
Better Place is joining Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., maker of Subaru automobiles, and other Japanese carmakers in the first Ministry of Environment sponsored electric-vehicle (EV) project in Japan. Better Place, the only foreign company participating, was invited by the Japanese Ministry of Environment to build a battery exchange station for EVs and showcase the technology.
The government’s project supports the move to sustainable transportation and includes various electric-car models and EV infrastructure in multiple cities to demonstrate feasibility. The EV project is scheduled to begin in January 2009 and last three to six months, encompassing municipalities in Kanagawa, Aichi, Osaka, and Hyogo prefectures.
Yokohama will host the first location to demonstrate the ability to exchange a depleted EV battery for a fully charged one, a means of extending EV range under the Better Place model. (Earlier post.)
Better Place is honored to participate in this ground-breaking program in a country with so much auto-manufacturing expertise and history. We look forward to joining Subaru and other auto manufacturers in the project and demonstrating the feasibility of electric cars with swappable batteries to the rest of the industry. Japan is moving one step closer to the next-generation Car 2.0 model of electric cars fueled by renewable energy.—Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place
Founded in October 2007 with $200 million in venture funding, Better Place builds electric vehicle networks powered by renewable energy. The company is currently working with partners to build electric vehicle infrastructure in Israel, Denmark, Australia and the United States.
Better Place is partnering with the Renault-Nissan Alliance for electric vehicles for some of its other projects.
Better Place Japan will be led by Kiyotaka Fujii, the former president and CEO of retailer Louis Vuitton’s Japanese subsidiary and SAP Japan. Based in Tokyo, Fujii also will lead the company’s efforts in the Asia Pacific region.
Yesterday, Better Place Israel introduced its first “plugged-in” parking lots as well as the charging spot design that will be used in Better Place deployments around the world. (Earlier post.)