ABSTRACT

In February 2010, Better Place opened its first demonstration center in Israel, constructed inside a refurbished industrial oil storage tank, with a 1.5 km test track allowing visitors to drive an electric car. The demonstration center showcased Better Place’s ambitious plan to challenge the status quo in a complex and rigid industry. Its opening was the latest milestone in the company’s three-year history, during which it had established partnerships with Israel’s national electric utility, venture capital firms, battery companies, car manufacturers, corporate clients and the Israeli government to launch a nationwide network of electric vehicles. In addition, Better Place had announced partnerships with firms and governments in Denmark, the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan and had engaged in conversations with 25 other governments around the 181world. Along the way, Better Place raised $200 million in its first round of venture capital funding in 2007, and $350 million in a second round in 2010, based on a valuation estimated at $1.25 billion, making it the second largest startup in history. The company’s mission was nothing short of audacious—to reduce and eventually eliminate the automobile industry’s dependence on oil.