Australia's electric vehicle movement was struck a blow this week with news that charging infrastructure company Better Place will wind down its Australian operations.
The news follows an announcement in December that the arrival of Renault's electric Fluence ZE, expected to launch in partnership with Better Place, has been postponed.
In a statement today, Better Place confirmed it will continue to honour its existing commitments in Australia, but will limit future investment until circumstances improve.
“Better Place is committed to finding alternative arrangements for existing customers in these markets, allowing them to continue the joy of anxiety free, electric car driving," the company said.
The charging technology and infrastructure company will instead focus on "realising the full potential" of its platform, concentrating its resources in Denmark and Israel, where greater investment has already been made.
Australia is not the only market in which Better Place is cutting back operations, with its North American offices also taking a hit.
The company's Australian arm also welcomed funding from Australian groups, amounting to around $27 million from investors like Lend Lease Ventures, RACV, energy company ActewAGL and others.
“We believe in the long term potential of both Australia and North America and are enormously encouraged by the enthusiastic response we get from all our customers,” Better Place chief executive Dan Cohen said.
“Therefore we will keep exploring solutions which will enable us to keep our long term options with regard to those markets open.”
Better Place's flagship project in Australia was to be a charging network and battery swap station in Canberra, announced in 2009.
A number of charging points have been installed, but the swap station was never built.