General Electric partnering with Better Place on charging network

Article by Christian Andrei, on September 25, 2010

Major automakers seem to be in a race to launch a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. An example is General Electric, which will be developing a car battery financing program with Silicon Valley electric car infrastructure company Better Place.

GE said that it plans to make its electric vehicle charger called WattStation compatible with Better Place's service network. Better Place will start in Israel and Denmark for its global network of charging stations. The partnership between GE and Better Place will begin with a project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark.

The new partnership will also be pushing for the electrification of corporate fleets. CEO Shai Agassi said that partnering with GE will enable Better Place to expand its global operations quicker. Renault is Better Place's other major partner.

What this startup firm conceptualizes is a setup wherein battery-swapping stations complement a network of charge spots. As a result, electric cars can extend their range without requiring an additional back-up engine that burns fossil fuel.

Better Place said that by the end of the year, it expects to have 50 electric cars on the road in Israel testing its charging infrastructure. In the charging infrastructure model that the company has developed, the batteries would be leased.

The customers will purchase monthly 'miles' or lease fees for battery and electricity. The plans will also include charging and battery swapping. [via autonews - sub. required]

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