PARIS (Bloomberg) -- Renault is ending a five-year partnership with Better Place LLC in Denmark and Israel after the operator of electric-vehicle charging stations announced plans to shut down.
Better Place filed a motion for liquidation with an Israeli court on Sunday after failing to attract new investments, according to a company statement.
Renault and Better Place began working together in 2008 and said a year later that they aimed to sell 100,000 of the Fluence ZE, the French carmaker's first electric vehicle, in Israel and Denmark by 2016. The partnership included the development of the QuickDrop service, by which owners of Renault's Fluence could switch the battery in one of Better Place's stations in each country in less than five minutes.
"We're currently working to continue to ensure after-sales services for all the electric cars in Israel, where more than 80 percent of Better Place's activity takes place," Gilles Normand, head of Renault's Asia-Pacific operations, said on a conference call today. "The investment in the partnership hasn't been significant," he added.
Renault has sold 1,000 Fluence electric cars in Israel and 240 in Denmark, Raluca Barb, a Renault spokeswoman, said today. Owners of the vehicles can still charge the cars themselves at home and Renault will continue to provide warranties and maintenance services, she said.
"We were approached to participate in the fund-raising round," Normand said. "But this is not our role."
Renault and affiliate Nissan Motor Co. are investing a total of 4 billion euros in electric vehicle projects through 2015. The Fluence's low performance and relatively high price compared with conventional vehicles proved too big a hurdle as Better Place, founded by former SAP executive Shai Agassi, failed to attract enough customers. The Palo Alto, California- based startup had raised $750 million since its founding five years ago.
Billionaire Idan Ofer's Israel Corp., the largest investor with a 30 percent stake, said in a separate statement its board decided against investing more in the venture.
"This is a difficult day," said Dan Cohen, the Better Place's third CEO in just under a year. "Unfortunately, after a year's commercial operation, it was clear to us that, despite many satisfied customers, the wider public take-up would not be sufficient and that the support from the car producers was not forthcoming."