FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Better Place, which is building a global network of charging stations for the electric car industry, expects its e-cars to be significantly cheaper than gasoline-powered counterparts, its CEO was quoted as saying.
"(Our partner) Renault has not set prices yet. But the e-car will be 3,000 to 5,000 euros ($4,400 to $7,350) cheaper than the model with a gasoline engine," Shai Agassi told German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
"Governments give incentives for electronic vehicles, that's how we can sell the car at cheaper prices," he added.
The Renault Fluence is also set to be significantly cheaper than the e-cars of other automakers because Better Place, not customers, will buy the battery, which many experts estimate will cost around 10,000 euros.
Customers pay only for their usage. Better Place will charge about 250 euros per month if customers drive up to 30,000 km annually -- the same amount they would pay if buying petrol for the equivalent car, Agassi said.
"If a customer has a flat rate to drive as much as he wants, he will pay 340 to 350 euros -- try to get such a deal with Shell," he added.
Agassi expects to profit from selling mileage to drivers, which will generate revenues that exceed the company's costs for the large lithium-ion batteries and power.
He expects the company to break even by late 2012.
(Reporting by Arno Schuetze)