Sunrise to buy Better Place

Court approves sale of operations and assets in Israel and Swiss-based intellectual property; gives Startup Nation a second chance for electric vehicles.

A huge sigh of relief for Better Place electric vehicle drivers as an Israeli court awards the liquidation of all Israel-based assets and Swiss-based intellectual property of the recently-bankrupt company to a unique consortium headed by solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz and the Association for the Promotion of the Electric Car in Israel.

Upon news that Better Place — the company that ran the electric car network in Israel — was closing shop, the active customer base of 900 EV enthusiasts were thrown into limbo.

Yosef Abramowitz and Efi Shahak


Better Place, valued at $2 billion as recently as August 2012, was declared bankrupt in May in Israel. The now-defunct company left behind the world’s most advanced electric vehicle (EV) charging network.

“Our vision is to transform the charging network into an open, national technology and service platform for all current and future EVs,” stated Yosef Abramowitz, President of international solar power provider Energiya Global. “We look forward to Israelis soon driving and charging Teslas and other EVs that will save money for both drivers and government, fight climate change and keep our air clean.”

The Lod District Court also approved the sale of Better Place Switzerland’s intellectual property to the same consortium, subject to a final ruling by a Swiss Court which is expected to be approved. Abramowitz and partners will pay at least $5 million for Better Place Israel’s assets and $6.9 million for Better Place Switzerland’s intellectual property.

“We are committed to maintaining the 2,000 charging spots and basic battery swap services for all current and future EV drivers in Israel,” said Efi Shahak, Chairman of the EV Drivers Association. “We thank the Court and liquidators for giving Israel a second chance to get it right.”

“We have been cheering on Elon Musk and Tesla Motors, and view Elon’s recent announcement in regard to improving the ownership and transportation experience for Tesla car owners by providing battery switching capabilities as a validation of our battery switching technology,” said Henry Shiner, who led the due diligence and valuation process on Better Place’s intellectual property (IP). “This is our core overall vision for the EV industry, and we look forward to working together with Tesla in a win-win relationship, which will look to model what a national EV charging network should look like for the rest of the world.”

Noam Grissel, a member of the EV Association of Better Place drivers in Israel, prepared the business plan for the consortium. “The new company will be run as a low-burn, lean, Israeli start-up, but with a world-leading national charging infrastructure that is currently operating beautifully. The Company expects to break even within 18-24 months, as more and more EVs are added to Israeli roads by the government, military, NGOs, industry fleets and individual consumers.”

“We have a lot of work ahead in the coming days and weeks,” said Shahak. “We are asking for patience and goodwill from all our drivers and service providers, as we work through the action plan. Patience will be appreciated and rewarded.”

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About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.