SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - General Electric is partnering with Silicon Valley electric car infrastructure company Better Place on technology development and financing of car batteries, the U.S. conglomerate said on Wednesday.
GE, which recently unveiled an electric vehicle charger called WattStation, is planning to make the product compatible with Better Place’s service network.
Better Place is aiming to build a global network of charging stations, starting in Israel and Denmark, as major automakers are racing to launch a variety of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
Under the new partnership, GE and Better Place will develop a battery financing program, beginning with a project to finance 10,000 batteries in Israel and Denmark.
The two companies will also push for electrification of corporate fleets.
The partnership with GE will help Better Place scale up its global operations more quickly, company’s Chief Executive Shai Agassi said.
Better Place’s other major partner is automaker Renault.
The startup firm’s concept is for battery-swapping stations to complement a network of charge spots so that electric cars can extend their range without the need of an additional back-up engine that burns fossil fuel.
Better Place plans to have 50 electric cars on the road in Israel testing its charging infrastructure by the end of the year.
Under the company’s charging infrastructure model, the batteries would be leased to customers, who would buy monthly ‘miles’ or lease fees for battery and electricity to run the car. Charging and battery swapping would be included in the plans.
Reporting by Poornima Gupta