Electric car firm Better Place loss deepens, more losses seen

JERUSALEM Tue Nov 27, 2012 8:46am EST

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JERUSALEM Nov 27 (Reuters) - Beleaguered electric car venture Better Place posted a steeper third-quarter loss, the latest sign that its global gasoline-free network is struggling to take off.

The quarterly $71.2 million loss was greater than $65.8 million a year earlier and brought the total loss for the January to September period to $203 million.

Better Place's results were part of an earnings report on Tuesday by Israel Corp, which owns about 30 percent. And it was the first report since Better Place replaced its chief executive and founder Shai Agassi in October.

The California-based company's network consists of charging spots and battery swap stations that increase driving range. It has started to deploy with much fanfare in Israel and Denmark and plans to expand to Australia.

But sales have been sluggish.

Better Place partnered with Renault in 2008 and committed to a production run of 100,000 electric cars for Israel and Denmark. Two months ago, Better Place said that just 500 cars were on the roads in the two countries combined.

Much of that forecast had been based on soft orders from owners of large fleets in Israel, but Israeli media have reported that a number of the fleets are backing out.

"(Better Place) has incurred net losses and negative cash flow from operations and currently has an accumulated deficit of $561.5 million, and expects to have losses and negative cash flow in future periods," Israel Corp said in its report.

Better Place is trying to raise $100 million in an issue of preferred stock, two-thirds of which will come from Israel Corp, which has said it viewed the electric car venture as a long term investment.

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