web analytics
April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » Blogs

Even Without Shai Agassi, Better Place Offers a Great Deal

Despite press attention, Better Place has not told a competent story to Israelis.
Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

Better Place founder Shai Agassi.
Photo Credit: David Terrar

Share Button

On Monday, electric car company Better Place announced that Shai Agassi, up to now the face and driving force behind Better Place, was stepping back from his CEO rôle and would continue on as a member of the board and major shareholder. Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO in Australia, is stepping up to the global rôle. The news seemed to come out of the blue. The company’s press release about this is here.

I don’t know a lot yet about Evan Thornley, but I will find out more. He certainly pushed Better Place on quite a bit in Australia and, while Renault seems to be a slightly reluctant partner in Europe today, Evan has brought GM Holden on board in Australia and that may turn out to be brilliant.

Timing

If I have a complaint it is about the local timing of this announcement. Just last week Better Place and the local leasing company Albar announced an amazing deal they would be selling at a car show in Tel Aviv this week. They’re offering a 3-year lease for ₪9,990 down and ₪1,990 per month which includes driving 1000 km. Fuel alone for that distance is ₪900 or more. I have personally put two people in touch with Better Place who are close to taking this. I have 3 or 4 more very interested. I’ve had calls or messages from all who are asking if the company will be around to service the lease.

I can’t answer that question. Obviously I need them to continue operating or my car is useless. It’s my belief now, as it was when I bought my car, if Better Place were to fail completely, someone would pick up the local assets at a discount price and continue to run the service. Too much has been spent for it to be written off completely.

As I’ve written so glowingly I think Better Place are doing many things correctly: the product,the pricethe service are all excellent.

Local Advertising

I’m going to make one strategic criticism though. The marketing in Israel has been disappointing. When the New York Times writes “But despite vast publicity, the idea has gained little traction so far.” they’re confusing two different things. Being featured in the Startup Nation book and talked about in global business publications doesn’t affect the Israeli domestic market for cars (or that in Denmark I suspect). Sure it gets a few headlines but the Israeli press has been overwhelmingly skeptical from the start.

I could be very cynical and point out that as car advertising (by internal combustion engine car importers of course) is something like 50% of all media buy in Israel, perhaps the newspapers were just protecting their biggest customers.

But the reality is Better Place has not told a competent story to Israelis. They haven’t advertised in English, Russian or Arabic just for starters. And their advertising in Hebrew has not been enough. There is only one sales centre in Israel: Tel Aviv. There should be one in Jerusalem and Haifa at a minimum. I can’t link to an English version of the lease offer because their web page is in Hebrew only, here’s a brief article in Globes about it. And the terms of the lease are an image so Google won’t even translate it for you.

I know personally how huge this education gap is because of the questions I get asked every time I drive or park my car. Very few people have any idea about the car or actively believe lies and misinformation spread in the press here for 3 years now.

There has been no coherent promotion of just how nice the car is to drive. No promotion of how easy it is to switch or how the home charging works. Of course having only one model hurts them, but as it is  the most popular style of car in the country, not by much.

Shai Agassi and Investment

As to Shai, it is completely normal for a founder of something like this to move or be moved aside when a company transitions into more of an operational stance than a start up. I have met him but I wouldn’t say I know him and I’m not going to give some uninformed speculation about what led to this.

Share Button

About the Author: Brian of London regularly blogs at Israellycool.com about life in Israel, technology & business topics. He made aliyah from the UK to Israel in 2009, and owns and operates his own import company in Israel with more than 15 staff.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Even Without Shai Agassi, Better Place Offers a Great Deal”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

UWI blog logo
Current Top Story
Israeli soldiers closed off the area near where a terror attack occurred  near Hevron on Passover eve, in search of the terrorists.
Netanyahu: PA Incitement Caused Pre-Passover Terror Attack
Latest Blogs Stories
Justin Hayet (second from right) at the State University of New York at Binghamton, supporting Israel against anti-Israel attacks.

Pro-Israel leaders on campus are as important as the troops in the IDF and professional hasbaraniks.

Children re-enacting the Exodus from Egypt, in southern Israel, April 10, 2014.

The seder reminds us of our freedom now that we are home again in the land of the Nation of Israel

IDF Crew Chiefs on Elite Helicopter Mission. Jan. 13, 2014

IDF helicopters are ready to act on a moment’s notice to defend the State of Israel.

The Samson Super Hercules aircraft ensures the IDF can safeguard Israel from far beyond her shores.

Rudoren and the Times are determined to go the extra mile to humanize Barghouti.

Gazans are among the principal victims of the terror-addicted Hamas Islamists.

Factors that you need to take into account when deciding whether to rent or buy a home.

Intelligence organizations seek enemy’s secrets; for the past 35 years, all secrets are on computers.

Guest Blogger Robert proves that one must not eat any Matzah on Pesach based on an article in Vosizneias.

Students most in danger of going OTD are those with damaged egos from teacher inattentiveness.

It is unfair to judge a 52 year old man with the glasses of a person who lives in a different world.

The president of the Cambridge Satchel Company talks about the exponential growth of her company.

The Arabs didn’t miss an opportunity for peace. Their goal has always been something else entirely.

Before Begin’s policy of withdrawing from Land liberated in the 6 Day War, today’s scenario was unthinkable.

Rosh Chodesh Nissan commemorates the very first mitzvah.

More Articles from Brian of London
Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

On Monday, electric car company Better Place announced that Shai Agassi, up to now the face and driving force behind Better Place, was stepping back from his CEO rôle and would continue on as a member of the board and major shareholder. Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO in Australia, is stepping up to the global rôle. The news seemed to come out of the blue.

Better Place electric car dealership

If Israeli electric car company, Better Place, only gave the world an electric car that could switch an empty battery for a full one in five minutes that would have been enough! But Better Place is also the key to making renewable energy production practical all over the world. Dai aynu!

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/even-without-shai-agassi-better-place-offers-a-great-deal/2012/10/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: