Given the void of customers willing to sign up to Better Place's  (formerly Project Better Place) battery swapping scheme, Shai Agassi's electric vehicle start up has slashed pricing on its various plans, and has also began an advertising campaign behind the Renault Fluence ZE in hopes to stimulate business.

It is hoped that two simpler to understand, and cheaper payment structures will help the company gain a foothold in its primary market in Israel.

The new plans are (numbers converted to USD):

  • Advanced Payment - 14 cents/km for 50,000 to 80,000 km over three years  vs. the old plan of  4 years and a minimum of 80,000 km
  • Pay As You Go - - 17.5 cents/km, with a minimum charge based on at least 1,000 km driven per month vs the old plan that charged between $275 and $400 a month for 20,000-30,000 km per year

    Renault Fleunce ZE Getting Receiving A Charge

    Renault Fleunce ZE Getting Receiving A Charge

Of course, that doesn't actually get you a car, the  Better Place supplied Fluence ZE costs between  $30,500 and $32,000 after applicable tax breaks in the country.  And if you want to sell your car with a battery, you'll find that it is the property of BP, but you can buy that for an additional $19,300 dollars.

Better Place has already installed over 1,500 charging stations for members to use, but will still only have 38 operation battery changing stations by the fall, after five years being in operation.   BP has sold a little more than 250 cars this year and currently has about a dozen operating swap stations.

To illustrate why (in our opinion) the Better Place concept makes absolutely no sense, the Renault ZE can be had for $27,300 (£17,495) in the UK  after incentives, with a battery hire from $118 (£76),   Flexible options from Renault directly allow for between 10,000 and 30,000 km a year, and for lease terms as short as 12 months.

So, is all that extra cost and hassle from Better Place worth 38 battery swapping stations?  We think not.

By our calculations you could be your own "swap station" and purchase two Fluence ZEs straight from Renault and end up paying less by the time all things are considered.

Video Of A Better Place Battery Swap: