Better Place Australia Closes.

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E-STATION
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Better Place Australia Closes.

Post by E-STATION » Thu, 07 Feb 2013, 06:45


Better Place Australia have announced they are shutting down.

Sad but true.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2 ... perations/

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/busines ... 6571844939

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Post by jonescg » Thu, 07 Feb 2013, 16:31

They had it coming right from the start. There was so much wrong with Betterplace, not least the battery-swap concept (getting SAE to agree on a charge socket is bad enough, let along whole batteries). They talked it up and backed it with nothing physical. Collected millions from investors and millions from government, then nothing but their certain demise.

Hopefully they don't tarnish the EV movement too much.
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Post by Johny » Thu, 07 Feb 2013, 16:47

It wasn't quite "nothing physical". They did prove the battery swap concept worked but as you say, it was always doomed - certainly after Shai Agassi left. If not from a concept that begged obsolescence, then from excessively optimistic entrepreneurism.

They still have their domestic market (and Denmark) and maybe they will stay afloat with that. However, once downsizing starts it's difficult to stop - I would think especially in such a delicately positioned market.


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Post by Canberra32 » Thu, 07 Feb 2013, 21:31

You want an exchangeable battery? Sure ill do it cheaper.
Will turn a car into a big cordless drill...
Not to say that the concept hasn't already crossed my mind :)

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Post by g4qber » Sat, 09 Feb 2013, 15:38

Last edited by g4qber on Sat, 09 Feb 2013, 04:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by g4qber » Sat, 09 Feb 2013, 15:51

Last edited by g4qber on Sat, 09 Feb 2013, 04:55, edited 1 time in total.


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Post by g4qber » Fri, 24 May 2013, 20:51

2 options for cable
A) $400 full refund
B) $150 to keep the cable

The units will be set to stand alone mode
Clients can keep the RFID fobs

Andrew Carroll is the contact
Last edited by g4qber on Sat, 25 May 2013, 09:52, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Johny » Fri, 24 May 2013, 21:00

Hi Joseph. Do you know what they mean by "Stand alone mode"?
If the chargers are still there, aren't the cables required?

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Post by Richo » Fri, 24 May 2013, 21:03

What's the connection for the cable options and better place?
Is this for people using battered place charging stations?
So the short answer is NO but the long answer is YES.
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Post by Johny » Fri, 24 May 2013, 21:21

Richo wrote: What's the connection for the cable options and better place?
Is this for people using battered place charging stations?
I know that when Laurel had the LEAF from the Vic trial it came with a "special" cable in case she charged from a Better place charger. Why on earth they didn't go J1772 eludes me. That's why I'm wondering what is happening to the existing charge stations.

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Post by E-STATION » Fri, 24 May 2013, 21:31

I believe that "stand alone" mode means the Better Place charging stations are not connected via wireless internet to the backend management system. If the key fob authorisation process takes place at the front end, i.e. the charging station then existing users should have no problem accessing the charging station even if the station is not connected to the back end. However if the authorisation process takes place at the backend server then users will not be able to access the station if the station of "off-line".

We don't know if BP Australia intend to shut down the backend system as part of the wind down process. If the system is hosted overseas they may just leave it running.    

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Post by E-STATION » Fri, 24 May 2013, 21:37

g4qber wrote: 2 options for cable
A) full refund
B) $150 for cable

The units will be set to stand alone mode
Clients can keep the RFID fobs

Andrew Carroll is the contact


In that case existing users who are already authenticated to the BP management system can continue to use the charging stations. New users will not be able to use the stations because BP will not enter their details into the system and issue them with new key fobs. That's my understanding but I may be corrected.

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Post by coulomb » Sat, 25 May 2013, 03:03

E-STATION wrote: In that case existing users who are already authenticated to the BP management system can continue to use the charging stations.

So who pays the electricity bills, rent, and so on? Perhaps this can also be done from overseas. I assume no-one does maintenance on them, so when they break down, they will become unusable anyway. Or perhaps the overseas company can organise a contractor to maintain them? [ Edit: as needed, as reported by customers, or on a regular basis. ]

You'd think if they went to that amount of trouble, they could also accept new customers as well, mailing the cables and fobs. I assume that the charging stations are still profitable, and it certainly seems a waste to abandon the sites, or sell them for scrap.
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Post by E-STATION » Sat, 25 May 2013, 04:41

coulomb wrote:
E-STATION wrote: In that case existing users who are already authenticated to the BP management system can continue to use the charging stations.

So who pays the electricity bills, rent, and so on? Perhaps this can also be done from overseas. I assume no-one does maintenance on them, so when they break down, they will become unusable anyway. Or perhaps the overseas company can organise a contractor to maintain them? [ Edit: as needed, as reported by customers, or on a regular basis. ]

You'd think if they went to that amount of trouble, they could also accept new customers as well, mailing the cables and fobs. I assume that the charging stations are still profitable, and it certainly seems a waste to abandon the sites, or sell them for scrap.


The business case for charging stations depends on either the sale of subscription plans to EV drivers or pay as you go type vending solutions. This is the same business model that underpins the mobile phone industry. However the break even cost per kilowatt hour for a charging station network is around $1 per kilowatt hour whereas the cost of home charging at off peak rates is between 9 cents and 12 cents be kilowatt hour depending on which state you live in. Charging station networks cannot compete with home charging which is why the charging station network providers in Australia have been unable to raise any revenue from their charging station networks.

There are less than 100 public charging stations across the whole of Australia so even those charging station companies which just concentrate on providing hardware are selling into a tiny market.

Most of the public charging stations are installed on council property and in most cases the councils own the charging stations outright. Hence the councils will be responsible for maintaining the charging stations and fixing charging stations that malfunction.

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Post by E-STATION » Sat, 25 May 2013, 04:43

One obvious solution would be to disable or bypass the authentication system so that anyone could use the charging station.

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Post by coulomb » Sat, 25 May 2013, 05:05

E-STATION wrote: Most of the public charging stations are installed on council property and in most cases the councils own the charging stations outright.

But would this be true of the existing Better Place charging stations? I assume that they were owned by Better Place Australia, which is now winding down or gone. But ownership may pass to Better Place Headquarters, wherever that is.

Edit: on re-reading your reply, it seems you are saying that I was wrong in my assumption about Better Place owning the BP charge points. So they were basically a hardware vendor and authentication manager? I wonder who owns the battery swap stations overseas.
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Post by E-STATION » Sat, 25 May 2013, 05:16

coulomb wrote:
E-STATION wrote: Most of the public charging stations are installed on council property and in most cases the councils own the charging stations outright.

But would this be true of the existing Better Place charging stations? I assume that they were owned by Better Place Australia, which is now winding down or gone. But ownership may pass to Better Place Headquarters, wherever that is.

Edit: on re-reading your reply, it seems you are saying that I was wrong in my assumption about Better Place owning the BP charge points. So they were basically a hardware vendor and authentication manager? I wonder who owns the battery swap stations overseas.


The battery swap stations would have been owned by Better Place but the street level bollard type stations would have been sold to the councils or the relevant property owner.

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Post by E-STATION » Sat, 25 May 2013, 05:31

More and more of the council parking meters are now connected to remote backend management systems controlled by parking meter companies such as Parkeon. The parking meter company gets a share of the parking meter revenue and in return maintains the parking meters and provides the council with access to a management reporting system from which the council can produce revenue reports. If a parking meter company goes out of business then the council has to get another company to take over the management of the parking meters or manage the parking meters themselves. However the system integration problems are likely to be insurmountable and it may be easier to rip out the existing parking meters and replace them with kit from another company.

Councils with Better Place hardware may face a similar scenario.

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Post by g4qber » Sat, 25 May 2013, 14:38

Stand alone means that unit doesn't have to authenticate with home before charging begins
Still need to use mennekes To j1772 cable

New users may be added by the Holden dealer

Holden dealer will be paying for electricity
These units are generally only accessible during opening hours

They will be used by the dealers to charge their volts

Not sure who will be servicing the units in future
Last edited by g4qber on Sat, 25 May 2013, 04:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by g4qber » Sat, 25 May 2013, 14:43

According to nikki Gordon Bloomfield, battery swapping would be good for taxis and fleets.

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Post by g4qber » Sat, 25 May 2013, 19:55

the cable is mennekes to j1772, 20A

compatible with the elektrobay units used in WA EV trial

unfortunately there isn't a lock on the j1772 trigger
the Holden Volt EVSE trigger is the same
the holden relies on a scary car alarm

I shall be keeping the cable since it is a bit of history
and as a backup

it is longer than the dostar 32A

somehow it is beginning to curl so one day the cable may be dead.
curling is also occurring with the imiev's EVSE.
and the UWA cable

UWA cable doesn't go in as smooth as the other j1772's mentioned.
Last edited by g4qber on Sat, 25 May 2013, 09:59, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by E-STATION » Mon, 27 May 2013, 04:54


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Post by woody » Tue, 28 May 2013, 13:03

Don't be sad, they've gone to a better place... Image
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Post by Gabz » Fri, 09 Aug 2013, 02:46

it looks like there website is now dead.

while i don't really care about there level 2 chargers there where 4 level 3 dc faster chargers between newcaslte and sydney that sadly no longer work as well. that our (ausgird) money helped pay for.

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