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Better Place singing with the choir invisible

By 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
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 10:31 am 29 May 13

I’ve got an innovative bridge to sell you 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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.

thebrownstreak69 8:13 am 29 May 13

howeph said :

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

I think this is an unfair characterisation.

Damn right.

We’re not that gullible…

chewy14 7:02 am 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.

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

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

downindowner 4:23 am 29 May 13

howeph said :

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.

+1

howeph 10:39 pm 28 May 13

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.

poetix 8:36 pm 28 May 13

More people are pining for the Fords.

MERC600 6:19 pm 28 May 13

and it all looked so nice. How many did the ACT guvy buy ?

“Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Simon Corbell said the Government had supported the project with planning and regulatory assistance.

”Our support for this emerging technology is another way the ACT is leading Australia to create a lower emission vehicle fleet.”

Better Place and the ACT Government hope to have infrastructure for the electric car network deployed by the end of the year and the scheme up and running by next year.

ActewAGL chief executive Michael Costello said $60million worth of renewable energy would be fed into the mainstream grid, and would be equivalent to what was needed to power the cars for 10 years.

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