Our friend David Herron recently discovered that charging infrastructure supplier Better Place has added another automaker to its international network – Coda – though the company had yet to announce it. Better Place is known for partnering with Renault overseas to expand its network of charging stations and battery swapping locations.
Herron, a former Silicon Valley software engineer with a passion for transportation alternatives and fossil fuel reduction, now writes for online publications including his blog The Long Tail Pipe. He did research on a public filing from California Energy Commission on $20 million grants for clean transportation. The grant project is managed by Better Place and covers taxis serving the San Francisco and San Jose Airports. The goal is to deploy two battery swap stations and six battery-switchable electric taxis there and then collect data on the operations. While reading through the CEC filing, he stumbled across a PDF with more details on three involved parties. Their names:
- Better Place Mobility Services, Inc.
- FEV, Inc.
- Coda of Silicon Valley
For Herron, understanding the relationship between Better Place and Coda didn't make much sense at first – Coda isn't in a good place to make use of the alliance, especially since Coda doesn't distribute electric cars in countries where Better Place has swap stations in place.
As you may know, we're developing an electric taxi program in the Bay Area. To fulfill our program commitment to demonstrate switchable-battery taxis, Better Place, CODA and FEV are moving forward with a collaboration to convert six CODA electric cars with fixed batteries into switchable-battery cars. It's another example of our ongoing efforts around the world to develop more makes and models of electric cars with switchable batteries.
There could be a global alliance that makes sense down the road though, Herron wrote. Coda announced a deal in April with Great Wall Motors. China would be a good market for a global electric car distribution system to expand for Better Place and Coda.