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Project Better Place Takes on Denmark

Looks like Israel isn’t the only place that’s willing to take a chance on Shai Agassi’s electric vehicle infrastructure plan: Denmark has decided to give Project Better Place a go, too. Today Danish utility DONG Energy and Silicon Valley startup Project Better Place said they plan to start work on an electric vehicle battery exchange network in Denmark and give Danish consumers access to electric vehicles via the Renault-Nissan partnership.


This is the well-funded company’s second locale for its electric vehicle infrastructure business model, proving that the idea is gaining traction outside of the perfect conditions of Israel (in places where Agassi is less connected and where the government isn’t as aggressive about moving away from oil). But like Israel, Denmark is small — 5.4 million residents — and has unusually progressive environmental policies. So with this second country on board, it’s becoming clear what geographies would make a good match for Project Better Place.

The duo played up the country’s use of wind — 20 percent of the country’s total electricity according to the WSJ — as a good match for the electric vehicle plan. Anders Eldrup, CEO of DONG Energy, said:

At the same time, we will achieve a new way of storing the unstable electricity output from wind turbines, as EVs are typically charged during the night, when the exploitation of power generation is low. This provides optimum exploitation of our resources for the benefit of the environment.”

Surprisingly absent in the news was how the project will get funded in Denmark. Project Better Place raised at least $200 million from investors Israel Corp., Ofer Shipping Holdings, Morgan Stanley, VantagePoint Venture Partners and private investors. But these projects are expensive and the Israeli one will cost an initial $200 million, and eventually $1 billion by the time the project is complete. So the Denmark plan will need more than what the company has been reported to have raised. Not doubt they’ll need more funding, and the Globes, an Israeli paper, reported that the Denmark plan will get financing help from Israel Corp.

Previous coverage of Project Better Place:

Project Better Place Taps Israel CEO, New Partners

Project Better Place and Renault-Nissan Charge Ahead in Israel

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