Shay Agassi's electric car venture Better Place LLC is facing delays in the deployment of its battery recharging and quick replacement infrastructure in Denmark as well as in Israel. As a consequence, the launch of the 19 battery replacement stations, due for the beginning of April, has been delayed to summer.
Better Place Denmark declines to say when the launch will take place. A spokesman told the Danish press, "We'll launch the stations when they're ready, and we won't necessary launch all of them simultaneously. We're testing them to ensure that the first users will be satisfied by the service."
Renault SA (Euronext: RNO), which directly markets its electric car in Denmark, has announced that it will launch the Zoe compact electric car in October. It considers the Zoe more suited to the Danish market than the electric version of the Fluence sedan, which is not popular in the country. Renault also announced that, until further notice, it will market the Zoe only with a permanent battery, rather than the replaceable battery "until Better Place proves that its organization and battery replacement system are functioning properly."
Meanwhile, the Danes appear to have found an alternative use for Better Place's battery recharging points, which are already in place in several cities, even before any electric cars have hit the road: they have become ashtrays - to the point that Better Place has made public announcements asking the public not to use the points for the disposal of cigarettes.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 10, 2012
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