With the site having been down for a while, I thought that I'd browse through BetterPlace's press releases to see whether Melbourne had slipped down the list.
April 2010 - Three taxis trialling the system in Tokyo
For the Tokyo electric taxi project, Better Place and Nihon Kotsu, Tokyo’s largest taxi operator, will operate three switchable-battery electric taxis, which are available to the public at the taxi line reserved for environmentally-friendly vehicles on the first floor of the Roppongi Hills Complex.
April 2010 - BetterPlace exhibits at motor show with Chinese manufacturer Chery
As part of the collaboration agreement, the Chery exhibit at Auto China 2010 features elements of the Better Place EV solution, including EV charge spots and battery-switch technology displayed with a Riich G5 sedan.
“With only 2% of China’s population owning cars and 80% of sales in 2009 to first-time car buyers, China has the opportunity to create and lead an entirely new category around clean transportation,” said Dan Cohen, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Better Place. “With the scale of Chery’s design and manufacturing capability and an industrial policy that favors [electric vehicles] over [internal combustion engines], we believe China represents an unprecedented opportunity for Better Place. Our collaboration with Chery is just the beginning for Better Place in China.”
China has set an industrial policy with the objective of becoming the largest EV developer and manufacturer in the world, enabling the country to leapfrog internal combustion engine
September 2009 - Agreement between BetterPlace and Renault on retail model
Better Place will start importing and distributing Renault’s first passenger electric vehicle – Fluence ZE, a 5 seat-sedan, in the first half of 2011 in Israel and will offer subscriptions to customers buying this car from the Renault network in Denmark.
The battery can be completely re-charged via a standard charge (between four and eight hours) or ... 'Quickdrop' ... which enables vehicles to switch their batteries in less time than it takes [to fill a tank] with petrol. ... A third option – quick charge – is able to recharge the battery to 80% state of charge in 20 minutes.
One component of the Better Place EV services platform is the on-board computing platform, codenamed “AutOS,” which will be embedded into the Fluence ZE.
This vehicle will benefit from a four-year - 120,000 km - warranty, for the first time on the Israeli market. First deliveries will start first half-year 2011. Cars will then be available in specific Better Place outlets, as well as in some Renault dealers. Customers will benefit from the extensive Renault aftersales network, under a comprehensive maintenance contract.
In Denmark, Renault and Better Place will work in a close partnership. The cars will be sold through the Renault network and benefit from Better Place subscriptions, which include access to an extensive electric vehicle network of charge spots and battery switch stations, all managed by the Better Place EV services platform.
January 2009 - BetterPlace announces the opening of an Ontario office
Better Place will establish its Canadian head office in Ontario, and build an electric vehicle demonstration and education centre in Toronto to lay the groundwork to help get electric vehicles running on Ontario roads.
The province has committed to conducting a comprehensive study, which will look at ways to speed up the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles. The study is scheduled for release in May 2009. At the same time, Better Place will be developing an electric car charging network plan and timeline.
Better Place is partnering with Bullfrog Power, Canada’s only retailer of 100 percent green electricity, and Macquarie Group, a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services, and is continuing to build other relationships both locally and around the world. In Ontario, Bullfrog Power will provide all of the renewable energy needed to power the Better Place network.
December 2008 - Hawaii announces plans to be ready for electric cars by 2012
Better Place, the world's leading mobility operator, plans to begin permitting for the network within the next year and begin introducing vehicles within 18 months, with mass-market availability of electric cars in 2012. Hawai'i joins Israel, Denmark, Australia and California since Better Place was founded in October 2007, committed to deploying the world's first electric car networks.
Hawai'i spends up to $7 billion a year on oil imports and drivers pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation -- accounting for nearly 20 percent of the state's Green House Gases (GHG). Building the infrastructure for widespread adoption of electric vehicles will not only stimulate the local economy and reduce carbon emissions, but also provide a more affordable transportation option to Hawai'i's drivers.
"Hawai'i, with its ready access to renewable energy resources like solar, wind, wave and geothermal, is the ideal location to serve as a blue print for the rest of the U.S. in terms of reducing our dependence on foreign oil, growing our renewable energy portfolio and creating an infrastructure that will stabilize our economy," said Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO of Better Place. "Hawai'i has made the commitment to breaking its dependence on foreign oil, and is leading the way in addressing the most important economic and energy issues facing us today."
Hawaiian Electric Companies and Better Place Hawai'i also signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the infrastructure and energy needs to power Better Place's unique network of public charging spots and battery swapping stations with renewable energy. The partnership capitalizes on Better Place's innovative business model and Hawai'i's abundant renewable energy resources to deliver the large-scale deployment of electrical vehicles throughout the state.
November 2008 - Ireland announces tax incentives to go electric
Minister Eamon Ryan and Minister Noel Dempsey issued a joint statement announcing Ireland's plan to transition 10 percent of the overall road transport fleet to electric by 2020. Specifically, they plan to create a $1 million pilot project, tax incentives for corporate bodies purchasing electric vehicles, assistance for individuals purchasing electric vehicles, and the establishment of a National Task Force.
[BetterPlace's] preliminary data for Ireland conducted by research firm Behaviour & Attitude, for example, suggests that 82% of consumers would be more likely to buy an electric car if the vehicle benefitted from lower levels of tax. "We believe that the move to the Car 2.0 (a sustainable transportation model of electric vehicles powered by renewable energy) era in places like Ireland will serve as an economic and environmental stimulus blueprint for government leaders around the world.
November 2008 - Arnie announces plans to install network infrastructure in California.
In conjunction with the news, Better Place, the world's leading sustainability mobility operator, announced that it would enter the US market with California as its first state, beginning in the Bay Area. Better Place will work a similar infrastructure investment model as it has in Israel, Denmark and Australia. Network planning and permitting will begin in January 2009 with infrastructure deployment beginning in 2010.
Mass market availability of electric cars is targeted for 2012, and Better Place estimates the network investment in the Bay Area will total $1 billion when the system is fully deployed. The Better Place model is an open network model built on industry standards, allowing for fixed battery and battery exchange electric vehicles to operate on the network.
From their press releases, it does look like Melbourne has only slipped from third to fourth, behind Canberra. While Tokyo is trialling the swap stations, it's only for a few taxis and not for an entire city. There's no word as to when Australia will start seeing electric Renaults (let alone electric Cheries) but I'd speculate that Canberra, car dependent as it might be, is small enough that they'd want the network running in a larger Australian city before they commence importing cars.
The other nagging question is how much money Ireland and California have to start introducing incentives for an electric network.