GE (NYSE: GE) and Better Place announced a technology and financing partnership to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure through collaboration in four key areas: standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.
The partnership combines GE’s global scale, broad technology portfolio, smart grid expertise, and its new WattStation™ electric vehicle charger with Better Place’s EV services and infrastructure solution to create scalable solutions that power electric vehicles for nearly all consumers and fleet owners.
“GE values the power of collaboration and this partnership with Better Place is about large and small companies aggregating their strengths to advance electric vehicle infrastructure deployment,” said Beth Comstock, GE senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “By integrating our WattStation with this service solution, we can help digital energy transform our roadways and provide a cleaner, more sustainable transportation alternative.”
"Almost three years ago, Better Place identified the transformation from oil to electricity as the last massive ‘digitization’ of energy, and a significant economic opportunity globally,” said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place. “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. Our team of partners is committed to accelerating the acceptance of electric cars as more affordable and more convenient alternative to our gasoline heritage.”
The partnership includes collaboration in four areas:
1. Standards-based technology:GE’s WattStation™ will be compatible with the Better Place service network. Under the Better Place model, the ownership of the car and battery is separated; allowing EV drivers to avoid the heavy up-front cost of the battery and instead pay for miles and a more convenient, cleaner solution for personal transport. This partnership will allow consumers that manage charging costs under Better Place’s network to easily charge their vehicles using GE’s WattStation. Establishing charging uniformity for electric vehicle drivers, guarantees drivers can “roam” from one charge point to another under one seamless transaction for faster charging and a more convenient experience.
2. Battery Financing:GE and Better Place will develop a battery financing program that begins with a pilot project to finance up to 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark, which are the first two markets for Better Place. This financing will further drive the early EV market in those countries, helping to bring the first 10,000 electric cars to consumers there.
3. Fleet Electrification:GE and Better Place are collaborating to target fleet owners for pilot projects to test a comprehensive fleet electrification offering model in major city centers and connecting highways. 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.
Target pilot locations include cities in North America, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ontario, Canada, as well as cities in Europe, Asia and Australia. Better Place is already working towards initial network deployments in these markets, beginning in 2011.
4. Consumer Awareness:Better Place and GE, as part of its ecomagination initiative, will focus on raising consumer awareness to understand the economic and environmental value of widespread adoption of electric transport and the infrastructure that is needed so make that level of adoption a reality.