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Israeli Court Awards Liquidation of 'Better Place'

Israeli court awards liquidation of all Israel-based assets and Swiss-based intellectual property of recently-bankrupt Better Place.
By Rina Tzvi
First Publish: 7/10/2013, 10:22 PM

Better Place electric car
Better Place electric car
Israel news photo: Flash 90

An Israeli court today awarded the liquidation of all Israel-based assets and Swiss-based intellectual property of recently-bankrupt Better Place to a unique consortium that includes a non-profit association representing Better Place car owners, an Israeli solar tech entrepreneur and a Canadian investment banker, active in the clean tech and alternative energy markets with a specialized focus on distressed assets. 

Better Place, valued at $2 billion as recently as August 2012, was declared bankrupt in May in Israel. The now-defunct company left behind the world’s most advanced electric vehicle (EV) charging network for an existing and active customer base of 900 EV enthusiasts, who refuse to be left stranded by the collapsed operation. 

“We are committed to maintaining the 2,000 charging spots and basic battery swap services for all current and future EV drivers in Israel,” said Efi Shahak, Chairman of the EV Drivers Association. “We thank the Court and liquidators for giving Israel a second chance to get it right.”

“Our vision is to transform the charging network into an open, national technology and service platform for all current and future EVs,” stated Yosef Abramowitz, President of international solar power provider Energiya Global. “We look forward to Israelis soon driving and charging Teslas and other EVs that will save money for both drivers and government, fight climate change and keep our air clean.”

“We have been cheering on Elon Musk and Tesla Motors, and view Elon’s recent announcement in regard to improving the ownership and transportation experience for Tesla car owners by providing battery switching capabilities as a validation of our battery switching technology," said Henry Shiner, who led the due diligence and valuation process on Better Place’s intellectual property (IP), " This is our core overall vision for the EV industry, and we look forward to working together with Tesla in a win-win relationship, which will look to model what a national EV charging network should look like for the rest of the world." 

"We have been awarded a lot of valuable IP that can accelerate EV growth worldwide,” Shiner added. The intellectual property sale to the group is still subject to a final ruling by a Swiss Court, but is expected to be approved. 

Noam Grissel, a member of the EV Association of Better Place drivers in Israel, prepared the business plan for the consortium. “The new company will be run as a low-burn, lean, Israeli start-up, but with a world-leading national charging infrastructure that is currently operating beautifully. The Company expects to break even within 18-24 months, as more and more EVs are added to Israeli roads by the government, military, NGOs, industry fleets and individual consumers.”

“The Company is currently seeking new investment of up to $36 million (USD) by offering both equity and convertible debt participation. We are saving a dream here, so the valuation and terms will be investor-friendly,” said Abramowitz, who will co-chair the Company along with Shahak. “We are happy to announce that commitments have been secured for 25 % of the funds needed to operate the company for the next two years, and there is significant interest from impact investors who want to do well and do good at the same time.”

“We have a lot of work ahead in the coming days and weeks,” said Shahak. “We are asking for patience and goodwill from all our drivers and service providers, as we work through the action plan. Patience will be appreciated and rewarded.”