Better Place comes to a Bitter End

Battery swap start-up Better Place announced Sunday that has filed a motion with an Israeli court to dissolve the company “in light of its failure to raise additional funds.” Fortune first reported the likelihood of bankruptcy on Friday.

“This is a very sad day for all of us,” said the company’s board of directors in a statement. “We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies. While he was able with partners and investors to overcome multiple challenges to demonstrate that it was possible to deliver a technological solution that would fulfill that vision. Unfortunately, the path to realizing that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome. The technical challenges we overcame successfully, but the other obstacles we were not able to overcome, despite the massive effort and resources that were deployed to that end.”

Charismatic founder Shai Agassi was ousted as CEO in October and left the board shortly thereafter. The company’s idea of creating battery charging and battery switching stations for electric vehicles had begun to take root in Israel and Denmark, but existing investors grew tired of putting in more money and new investors didn’t emerge.

Since its founding in 2007, the company raised roughly $850 million, including $200 million in November 2011. Investors included GE, UBS AG, Israel Corp., HSBC Group, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, VantagePoint Capital Partners, Ofer Group and Maniv Energy Capital.

Dana Hull Dana Hull (209 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.