Better Place, Renault Release Details at Frankfurt Auto Show

Renault (RNL.F) and Better Place announced today the signature of a definitive agreement that reflects their partnership in Israel and Denmark. The agreement marks nearly two years of development effort in creating the world’s first mass market zero-emission vehicle with switchable battery.

According to this agreement, Better Place will start importing and distributing Renault’s first passenger electric vehicle–Fluence ZE, a 5 seat-sedan, in the first half of 2011 in Israel and will offer subscriptions to customers buying this car from the Renault network in Denmark. Both companies commit to a volume of at least 100,000 vehicles for both countries by 2016.

The Fluence Z.E. is an all-electric car with a range of 160km.The battery can be completely re-charged via a standard charge (between four and eight hours) or an immediate solution (under five minutes) in the form of the ‘Quickdrop’–or battery switch technology–which enables vehicles to switch their batteries in less time than it takes to top off an ICE (internal combustion engine) car with gas. A third option–quick charge–is able to recharge the battery to 80% state of charge in 20 minutes.

This vehicle will benefit from a four-year, 120,000-km warranty, for the first time on the Israeli market. First deliveries will start in the first half of 2011. Cars will then be available in specific Better Place outlets, as well as in some Renault dealers.

In Denmark, the cars will be sold through the Renault network and benefit from Better Place subscriptions, which include access to an electric vehicle network of charge spots and battery switch stations, all managed by the Better Place EV services platform.

Carlos Ghosn, Renault’s President and CEO said: “Since we first announced our partnership with Better Place in January, 2008, the Renault and Better Place teams have worked diligently to make today’s announcement a reality, giving us a two-year lead over the competition.”

In a Separate Release…

Better Place said it’s research and development (R&D) is working closely with Continental of Germany and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) R&D, developing the computing platform for inside the car. Better Place is developing its AutOS in-car platform with Continental to produce in volume an automotive-grade head unit, which incorporates Microsoft Windows Embedded and is powered by the Intel® Atom™ processor. The always-on connectivity of the unit also enables the “connected car” to seamlessly communicate with all of the components of the Better Place network.

In Israel, both Intel and Microsoft also have signed up as Better Place “Vision Partners,” agreeing to transition to electric vehicles when commercially available in 2011.

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