Better Place singing with the choir invisible

johnboy 28 May 2013 28

The warning signs have been clear for a long time but The Register is reading the last rites over the Better Place electric car fiasco which we gullible rubes in Canberra have been taken in.

That vision helped the company to raise many hundreds of millions of seed capital. Renault clambered aboard too, building the Fluence ZE to Better Place’s specifications.

The company opened in Australia, the USA, Demark and Israel but struggled in all markets, sending its CEO’s seat swivelling and its cash pile burning.

Over the weekend, current CEO Dan Cohen pulled the plug.

His canned statement says he’s tried to turn the company around, but “revenues are still insufficient to cover operating costs, and in the light of the continued negative cash flow position, the Board has decided that it has no option but to seek to make this application to the Courts for an orderly liquidation of the company.”

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28 Responses to Better Place singing with the choir invisible
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howeph howeph 9:06 pm 29 May 13

c_c™ said :

… you’d have to assume we have the brains locally to have come up with something like Tesla if the drive to do so (no pun intended) were there.

Yes we can.

I cam across this Melbourne company, Axiflux, the other day which looks promising:

The world’s first modular, real-time, software-reconfigurable electric motor and generator. Relative to a traditional electrical motor, the innovative configuration and control of the AMFA yields significant size, weight and price reductions, while increasing power output, efficiency and reliability.[http://axiflux.com/]

I’ve only read some of their website marketing material, but it sounds like a potential gold mine.

c_c™ c_c™ 4:45 pm 29 May 13

dungfungus said :

howeph said :

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

True; but it was the the fact that:

Tesla recently reported its first profitable quarter, and Consumer Reports gave the Model S a near-perfect rating of 99 out of 100 points. So far this year, Tesla’s stock price has soared by 171%, which helped drive the company’s recent billion dollar stock and debt offering. [http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/loser-no-more-tesla-repays-465-million-u-s-loan/]

The US stock market is at a record high and cheap money is pouring into equities like never before so there was never a better time to raise captital through shares and Tesla are in the right place at the right time with a hint of better things to come.
At the same time the markets are very volatile which is driving the massive gains in share prices.
I doubt if many contributers to this blog would remember the “dot-com boom bust” and new technology stocks are prone to go this way. I hope Tesla don’t as they deserve success.

Tesla is a brilliant example. Tiny company but some great innovations which they’re now selling back to the major players in the car industry. (The Rav-4 EV in the US was powered by the Tesla developed system).

I cringe when thinking that this country has been ploughing hundreds of millions into building dinosaurs and supporting anachronistic business models when you’d have to assume we have the brains locally to have come up with something like Tesla if the drive to do so (no pun intended) were there.

dungfungus dungfungus 4:32 pm 29 May 13

howeph said :

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

True; but it was the the fact that:

Tesla recently reported its first profitable quarter, and Consumer Reports gave the Model S a near-perfect rating of 99 out of 100 points. So far this year, Tesla’s stock price has soared by 171%, which helped drive the company’s recent billion dollar stock and debt offering. [http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/loser-no-more-tesla-repays-465-million-u-s-loan/]

The US stock market is at a record high and cheap money is pouring into equities like never before so there was never a better time to raise captital through shares and Tesla are in the right place at the right time with a hint of better things to come.
At the same time the markets are very volatile which is driving the massive gains in share prices.
I doubt if many contributers to this blog would remember the “dot-com boom bust” and new technology stocks are prone to go this way. I hope Tesla don’t as they deserve success.

Solidarity Solidarity 3:51 pm 29 May 13

I have this great scheme, based on the trapezoid….

dungfungus dungfungus 2:00 pm 29 May 13

switch said :

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

Is that like the paper loss Transact made?

switch said :

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

Is that like the paper loss Transact made?

Don’t you know the difference between a loan and a loss?

switch switch 1:24 pm 29 May 13

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

Is that like the paper loss Transact made?

howeph howeph 1:11 pm 29 May 13

dungfungus said :

The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

True; but it was the the fact that:

Tesla recently reported its first profitable quarter, and Consumer Reports gave the Model S a near-perfect rating of 99 out of 100 points. So far this year, Tesla’s stock price has soared by 171%, which helped drive the company’s recent billion dollar stock and debt offering. [http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/loser-no-more-tesla-repays-465-million-u-s-loan/]

dungfungus dungfungus 12:08 pm 29 May 13

howeph said :

Johnboy said: “we gullible rubes in Canberra have been taken in”.

I think this is an unfair characterisation.

Yes Better Place was a risky undertaking, but I don’t think the government or ActewAGL was blind to the risks.

Some of the greatest things happen when government and private industry get together on big, transformative and risky initiatives. So this one was a bust, others have been amazing successes. One such success seams to be the half a billion dollar loan made to another electric car company – Tesla:

‘Loser’ No More: Tesla Repays $465 Million U.S. Loan [http://business.time.com/2013/05/23/loser-no-more-tesla-repays-465-million-u-s-loan/]

Electric cars are still a nascent industry with a lot of hard and risky work to go. But thinking that they are the future and worthy of investment doesn’t make you a country bumpkin.

I think Tesla are leaders in the recharged electric car technology and by marketing their flagship model as a high performance sports car they have masked the expense and “sold the sizzle, not the steak”. The prices for their proposed mass market model will have to be a lot cheaper than the hybrid Volt if they are to become a viable competitor for very fuel efficient small petrol powered cars.
The loan from the US Government was paid back by selling debt to the public, not from profits.

astrojax astrojax 11:59 am 29 May 13

artuoui said :

Ben_Dover said :

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

Best pun here EVER!!!

+1

agreed: i always said poetix had beautiful plumage…

dungfungus dungfungus 11:39 am 29 May 13

Thumper said :

I’d like to start an innovative hydroelectric scheme on Ginninderra creek with the aim of providing free power to all of Canberra.

A lazy $500K should cover it….

Please don’t give the Actew “thinkers” any encouragement.
They are probably already working on a solar powered skywhale for all we know.

Thumper Thumper 11:21 am 29 May 13

I’d like to start an innovative hydroelectric scheme on Ginninderra creek with the aim of providing free power to all of Canberra.

A lazy $500K should cover it….

howeph howeph 11:02 am 29 May 13

johnboy said :

I’ll give you exactly as much for half that price!

If you pay nothing, risk nothing, then you get… nothing.

howeph howeph 10:52 am 29 May 13

johnboy said :

I’ve got an innovative bridge to sell you howeph

Sorry, that one’s gone over my head. I guess your trying to call me gullible too.

How much cash money was invested? And what protections were in place to make sure that money was invested here in the ACT? These are reasonable questions to ask and I support the opposition in asking those questions [http://the-riotact.com/what-have-we-lost-on-better-place/93573] – but not if it is just a which-hunt.

From what I can see (and I haven’t looked to hard) ActewAGL chipped in $2m and the ACT government provided legislative changes and possibly land leases or something. That all sounds pretty reasonable to me to encourage a potential multinational to invest here. What do you think?

    johnboy johnboy 10:56 am 29 May 13

    I’ll give you exactly as much for half that price!

howeph howeph 10:28 am 29 May 13

chewy14 said :

Do you honestly think the ACT government should be at the forefront of that research and investment?

I honestly think that it is the responsibility of the ACT government to foster and encourage such research and investment to happen here in the ACT.

chewy14 said :

Wouldn’t it be better to ride someone else’s coattails after the concept has beem proven instead?

That depends on your definition of “better”. I think it is better for a region to become a leader in technology rather than just another follower.

    johnboy johnboy 10:31 am 29 May 13

    I’ve got an innovative bridge to sell you howeph

artuoui artuoui 10:10 am 29 May 13

Ben_Dover said :

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

Best pun here EVER!!!

+1

Ben_Dover Ben_Dover 9:24 am 29 May 13

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

poetix said :

More people are pining for the Fords.

Best pun here EVER!!!

dungfungus dungfungus 9:21 am 29 May 13

Thumper said :

Yes Better Place was a risky undertaking, but I don’t think the government or ActewAGL was blind to the risks.

It’s easy to be brave with other people’s money.

It’s only paper money.

dungfungus dungfungus 9:20 am 29 May 13

Does this now mean that Better Place won’t be able to backdoor sponsor some local football or women’s basketball team?

dungfungus dungfungus 9:07 am 29 May 13

“ActewAGL chief executive Michael Costello said $60million worth of renewable energy would be fed into the mainstream grid………..”

Is that with or without superannuation Mr Costello?

Thumper Thumper 8:15 am 29 May 13

Yes Better Place was a risky undertaking, but I don’t think the government or ActewAGL was blind to the risks.

It’s easy to be brave with other people’s money.

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