Electric car charging startup Better Place has raised another $50 million, this time in the form of a loan from European Investment Bank. The company has raised a whopping $800 million, mostly in equity to get its charging networks built out in Denmark and Israel.

Better Place Israel

Electric car network company Better Place announced on Tuesday that it has raised a $50 million loan (€40 million) from European Investment Bank to finish building out its networks in Denmark and Israel. Raising a loan means Better Place, which sells electric car charging service like a cell phone company, doesn’t have to sell any more equity to investors.

Better Place needs a lot of funds to get its networks built out. The company installs both charging stations and battery swap stations to create a network that enables its users to drive electric cars with the same convenience of gas cars. Better Place partners with utilities and governments in countries to provide subsidies to make the cost of the electric cars to its customers very low, and partners with car companies like Nissan to make the vehicles’ batteries swappable. The customer then pays a subscription service for driving and charging the electric car.

Better Place says in its release this morning that it is building a battery swap station in Amsterdam, and that about half of the battery swap stations in Israel are built. The company also says there are now 500 of the Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars on the roads in Denmark and Israel.

Founded in 2007, Better Place raised $200 million in equity just last November, and said at the time the company had a valuation of $2.2 billion. Before this loan, Better had raised more than $750 million, from investors including GE, UBS, VantagePoint Venture Partners, and others. Better Place is the brainchild of Shai Agassi, an entrepreneur that formerly hailed from SAP.

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  1. They are really good at raising a load of money. I’m still not sure if the whole thing is going to work though. There is only one car in existence which is designed to use the swapping system isn’t there? The Renault Fluence. Surely they needed several car makers to sign up. I know they also do standard charging, but I’m just not convinced they will ever have that many people signed up and paying them enough money for it to be worth while.

    I’m no expert so maybe I’m wrong. Time will tell I guess.

  2. Designing a car from scratch is a complex process that takes 5-6 years. Why would any company compromise their industrial design (and factors such as air/liquid cooling, front/back balance, etc) and trust a startup?

    If it takes $800M to tool up two tiny countries, I would say this venture looks unsalvageable. Just making a charging network takes a fraction of that money, just ask Coulomb.

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