Better Place to Pull Out of the U.S. and Australia

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Better Place, the troubled firm that sells electric cars and runs a network of battery recharging stations, is putting its plans for worldwide operations on hold for now and will limit its business to Israel and Denmark.

The company's directors decided on Tuesday to halt operations in the United States and not to invest further in the Australian market.

The company had already closed it research and development center in Palo Alto, California and has decided notto build a U.S. battery charging network. The practical result of the decision to halt further investment in Better Place's Australian business is to put operations there on hold as well. That prompted the resignation of Evan Thornley, who briefly headed Better Place's worldwide operations after running the company's Australian center.

"Our goal is to prove to our customers, suppliers and investors that we have a viable model that will enable us to expand in the future," said Dan Cohen, who replaced Thornley as CEO of Better Place. Cohen said that ultimately the company would return to the United States, Australia and other markets. The firm is currently conducting tests at Schiphol airport outside Amsterdam on an electric car with a replaceable battery. It also has a visitors' center in China, but Better Place will not be making additional investments in either country until at least next year.

A charging station for Better Place's electric car. Credit: Tomer Appelbaum

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