Electric Vehicles as an Industry is having severe growing pains with a number of EV producers like Think, Smith and others running into severe financial problems. Battery makers like A123 Systems, Valence Technology are facing survival questions as well, as their main customers the EV producers fail to generate significant volumes. Now Battery Swapping Business Better Place too is in danger as its chief Shai Agassi has resigned as CEO and Board Member. Note Better Place had managed to get good momentum signing deals with governments in Denmark and Netherlands. They had also roped in big automakers as partners. However the huge amounts of capital needed to build in battery swapping stations required big pockets and staying power. For a startup that was always going to be difficult given that returns from Electric Vehicles were going to be far into the future. Shai Agassi had built up a brand based on his own networking and charm somewhat similar to Elon Musk of Tesla. When such a high flying founder leaves a startup, the chances of success become quite dim.
These days the only thing you hear about in the Green Industry is Bankruptcy or companies on the verge of insolvency. The problem is not related to the only sector, but afflicts the entire Green Industry with companies across Solar Energy, Wind Power, Energy Storage, Biofuels going out of business. The reasons are common and the results are also the same. In fact most of the stories related to massive job losses and how the companies have lost hundreds and millions of public and private money, led to ultimate failure. While the A123 , the most well known energy storage company is staring at a liquidity drought and desperately trying to survive, another company Valance Technology operating in the same sector has filed for bankruptcy. Valence develops rechargeable batteries based on lithium ion and polymer technology, has suddenly declared bankruptcy unable to weather the severe industry downturn.
Another energy storage company Beacon Power which used an innovative flywheel technology to store electricity had gone bankrupt earlier in the year. In fact the famous green investor, Vinod Khosla had said that he did not expect A123 Technologies to survive.
Shai Agassi, the pioneer of electric vehicles, has severed his connections with Better Place, the company he founded, casting a pall over the prospects for the green technology.The Israeli entrepreneur was said to be involved in a dispute with Better Place, which specialises in the charging infrastructure for electric cars. He has now stepped down from the board after resigning his chief executive role last week. Evan Thornley, formerly head of Better Place’s Australian operations, has replaced Agassi as chief executive. Idan Ofer, the chairman, said it was “a natural point in the company’s evolution to realign for the second chapter”.
Also Read about Solar Power Charging Stations and Electric Cars – A Complete Green Transport Solution on GWI.