Better Place is a venture-backed international company. It is formally based in Palo Alto, California, but the bulk of its planning and operations has been steered from Israel, where both its founder Shai Agassi and its chief investors reside. Better Place develops and sells battery-charging and battery-switching services for electric vehicles. Israel is also the location of the company's first large-scale commercial pilot for battery-switching services, launched to the public in early 2012.
The company opened its first functional charging station in Israel the first week of December 2008 at Cinema City in Pi-Glilot near Tel Aviv. Better Place's primary R&D facility is located in Rosh HaAyin near Tel Aviv. The first customer deliveries began in Israel in the second quarter of 2012. This followed the earlier production deliveries of 100 Renault Fluence Z.E. in January 2012 allocated among the company's employees. As of mid September 2012, there were 21 operational battery-swap stations open to the public in Israel, and as of October 2012, 490 cars have been sold.
In early October 2012, Agassi resigned from his role as worldwide Better Place CEO, and was replaced by Evan Thornley, CEO of Better Place-Australia. Briefly, Agassi remained on the company board, but a week later he resigned from that position as well. A few days after Thornley's appointment, Better Place asked its investors for a round of emergency funding, totaling about $150 million. On October 29, 2012, Ynet reported that Better Place would that week lay off 150 to 200 people out of its 400-person staff in Israel as it seeks financing to combat its cash-flow problems.
In late January 2013, Thornley resigned, and Dan Cohen was named acting CEO by the board.
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