Australian to head Israeli Electric Car Company

October 4, 2012 Agencies
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An Australian has been named the new CEO of Better Place, the Israeli company trying to supply the world with electric cars and rid its addiction to petroleum.

Battery Swap Station

Evan Thornley, who heads the Australian branch of Better Place, was appointed this week to replace Shai Agassi, the Israeli-American founder of the company he started in 2007.
Agassi will remain a member of the Better Place board, according to the company.
The company has produced battery-switch stations  and charge stations for electric cars manufactured by Renault, with some stations already running in Israel.
“It is almost five years to the day since Shai launched Better Place and a natural point in the company’s evolution to realign for its second chapter and for the challenges and opportunities ahead,” Idan Ofer, chairman of Better Place, said in a statement.

Evan Thornley

Agassi, also in a statement, said: “Five years ago, I followed my passion to make the world a better place and founded a company to materialize that vision. Very few people are blessed to see such a grand vision become a proven reality within a relatively short time frame.”
Thornley spent two years in Victoria’s Parliament before accepting his post as chief executive of Better Place in Australia.
Now he faces an uphill battle to get the idea of electric cars to gain traction. The company lost $477 million since 2010, according to media reports.
Hagai Amit argued in Haaretz yesterday that Better Place has two major flaws. “It’s pioneering revolutionary technology that may or may not take off,” he wrote. Second, he argued that “instead of breaking the market with attractive prices, Better Place priced its cars sky-high, which didn’t exactly win consumer hearts, let alone market share.”
Thornley told the Wall Street Journal the company would have a “relentless focus” on expanding its customer base and building partnerships.

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