Better Place, Chery Auto collaborate on electric vehicles in China

Better Place said it has signed an agreement with Chery Automobile to develop electric vehicle technology in China, which aims to be a leader in the market.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Better Place said it has signed an agreement with Chery Automobile to develop electric vehicle technology in China.

The deal teams up Better Place, a well-funded startup focused on electric vehicle infrastructure, with Chery, China's largest independent auto maker.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Better Place's charge spots and battery switch technology will be paired up with Chery cars. At the Auto China 2010 car show, Better Place technology is on exhibit with Chery's Riich G5 Sedan (bottom right). Specifically, Better Place and Chery will develop switchable battery electric vehicle prototypes to secure government pilots.

Better Place, led by former SAP executive Shai Agassi, provides everything from battery technology to charging stations (middle right) to network software and driver services.

In a statement, Dan Cohen, vice president of strategic initiatives for Better Place, said China can lead in electric vehicle production and usage with the right policies and scale. In addition, it's early in the electric vehicle game with just 2 percent of China's population owning cars. Add it up and it's possible that first generation car buyers in China may only know electric vehicles.

China has set an objective to be the largest electric vehicle developer and manufacturer in the world and HSBC estimates that the country will have 35 percent of the market by 2020.

In a blog post, Better Place's Pete Cooper, head of business development in China, said:

There is now emerging recognition from the Chinese energy sector and government that battery switch is the most viable solution for accelerating EV adoption by reducing cost of EV ownership and minimizing the impact of increased electricity demand on the grid. And right now at Auto China 2010, we are seeing an even greater focus on EVs relative to the last show. It’s exciting to see Chinese automakers unveiling switchable battery technology in their EV offerings, especially since Better Place is working with multiple Chinese automakers on this front.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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