Better Place, a Silicon Valley electric vehicle infrastructure startup, has stepped up its game—first with the announcement of an in-car piece of software that checks battery charging options, and now with news of a partnership with Renault to put 100,000 electric vehicles on the streets of Israel and Denmark by 2016.
As part of the deal, Renault will put Better Place's in-car charging software in the Fluence ZE, which is expected to be the first mass-market EV to hit city streets. No word on how much the Fluence will cost (though it will be a mid-priced sedan), but Renault plans to release the vehicle in Israel by mid-2011. The five-person car will feature a 4 to 8 hour recharging time in a 230 volt outlet, with 80% charging in just 20 minutes. The Fluence will also boast compatibility with Better Place's battery charging and swap stations, which will pop up in Israel over the next two years.
Better Place presumably signed on for the deal in an attempt to establish its charging and swap stations as the standard for EVs. Shai Agassi, the company's CEO, went so far yesterday as to proclaim that by 2020, half of all cars sold in countries with Better Place infrastructures will be EVs with swappable batteries. If Agassi's prediction comes true, that will be a whole lot of cars—Japan, Australia, and the United States have all expressed interest in establishing swappable battery infrastructures in the near future.