General Electric, which recently unveiled its electric vehicle (EV) charger called the WattStation, has teamed up with battery swap specialist Better Place to accelerate the adoption of a global EV infrastructure. The duo will attack the industry on all fronts. Under the partnership, GE and Better Place will develop a battery financing program that kicks off with a pilot project providing funds for 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark. This project is expected to boost consumer interest in EVs and, potentially, help bring 10,000 battery-powered vehicles to the two countries.

The duo will push for the electrification of corporate fleets and looks to launch pilot projects in key North American markets, including the San Francisco Bay Area, Honolulu, Hawaii, and Ontario, Canada, as well as in cities across Europe, Asia and Australia.

The final agreement stemming from the partnership aims at promoting global charging standards. GE and Better Place will push for compatibility and charging uniformity on the global level. GE's WattStation will be adapted to fit Better Place's service network and the companies will promote standards that "guarantee drivers can 'roam' from one charge point to another under one seamless transaction for faster charging and a more convenient experience." Sounds good to us. Hat tip to Mattias!

[Source: Better Place]


PRESS RELEASE

GE and Better Place Partner to Accelerate EV Infrastructure Deployment


September 22, 2010

New York City (September 22, 2010) – GE (NYSE: GE) and Better Place, a leading electric vehicle (EV) services provider, today 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 than our gasoline heritage."

The partnership includes collaboration in four areas:

1. Standards-based technology: GE's WattStation™ will be compatible with the Better Place 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 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.

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About GE's ecomagination
GE is driving a global energy transformation with a focus on innovation and R&D investment to accelerate the development and deployment of clean energy technology. Since its inception in 2005, more than 90 ecomagination-approved products have been brought to market with revenues reaching $18 billion in 2009. With $5 billion invested in R&D its first five years, GE committed to doubling its ecomagination investment and collaborate with partners to accelerate a new era of energy innovation. The company will invest $10 billion in R&D over five years and double operational energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption. As part of the initiative, GE launched "GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid", a $200 million financial commitment challenging innovators to join in building the next-generation power grid. For more information, visit the ecomagination website at http://ge.ecomagination.com/index.html

About Better Place
Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimize energy use. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia. More information is available at http://www.betterplace.com.