Better Place Battery Switch Station for Amsterdam airport electric taxis

September 5th, 2012 by Better Place

Better Place battery switch station for Renault Fluence Z.E. electric taxis operating out of Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam (please click image to expand - image courtesy of Better Place)

Better Place launched its marque electric taxi project at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands on 3 September 2012 allowing Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars to have their depleted batteries automatically replaced with fully charged batteries within five minutes.

“We’re determined to demonstrate to Europe that electric cars can drive any distance in any country and aren’t just limited to short-distance driving,” said Shai Agassi, Better Place Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“We’re grateful for the support of the European Commission, the Dutch and Danish governments, Schiphol, Renault, and all of our partners in making this project happen in less than 18 months.”

Better Place also announced the appointment of Paul Harms as CEO of Better Place Netherlands.

Harms previously served as CEO of Athlon Netherlands and as an Executive Vice President of Athlon Car Leasing International.

“We’re thrilled that Paul has joined the Better Place team to lead and expand this project going forward,” Mr. Agassi said.

Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation, presided over the official ribbon-cutting ceremony of the battery switch station at Schiphol Airport.

A Renault Fluence Z.E. electric car leaves the Better Place battery switch station at Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam after receiving a fully-charged battery (click image to expand - image courtesy of Better Place)

Minister Verhagen was joined on stage by Jos Nijhuis, Schiphol Group President and CEO, Olivier Onidi, Directorate General for Mobility and Transport at the European Commission, and Jean-Paul Renaux, Managing Director Renault Netherlands.

Better Place Founder and CEO Shai Agassi, along with Netherlands CEO Paul Harms, hosted the group.

Awarded last year, the project consortium, “Greening European Transportation Infrastructure for Electric Vehicles,” is the first-ever, decarbonization infrastructure project co-financed by the European Union’s TEN-T program.

The Battery Switch Station was built in partnership with Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and will initially serve ten Renault Fluence Z.E. taxis operated by three leading Dutch taxi companies – Connexxion, Bios and TCA.

The Schiphol station is exclusively dedicated for the use of the Renault Fluence Z.E. electric taxis at this time.

Better Place also announced that it will expand the Schiphol showcase to include a second Battery Switch Station in Amsterdam, which will increase the service area for the first group of electric taxis.

The Schiphol-Amsterdam corridor is one of the most demanding routes in the world with more than 700,000 taxi trips originating from Schiphol each year.

Inside Better Place's Battery Switch Station (click image to expand - image courtesy of Better Place)

Applying battery switch technology to electric taxis allows them to operate virtually around the clock without the need to stop, plug-in, and charge. The project showcases that with the right solution, high usage vehicles such as taxis can make the switch to electric cars.

On average, Dutch consumers drive around 15,000 kilometers each year, with a large segment of business users that drive around 30,000 kilometers on average, making The Netherlands one of the most attractive markets for electric kilometers in Europe.

While this is just the beginning for Better Place Netherlands, the company is already proving that its model works today in its first markets – Israel and Denmark.

The company recently completed an historic “lap” around Israel by driving the Renault Fluence Z.E. 1,150 KM in 16 hours – without stopping to charge. Instead, the team leveraged the Better Place network of Battery Switch Stations around the country by switching the battery along the way.

In Denmark, a Better Place network of five Battery Switch Stations now connects Copenhagen to Aarhus, allowing Danish drivers to complete one of the most important routes in the country.

Thirteen more Switch Stations will be completed by year’s end.

In both markets, drivers of more than 500 Renault Fluence Z.E. electric cars with switchable batteries have driven more than three million electric kilometres to date.

In fact, Better Place has delivered more Renault Fluence Z.E.s in Israel year-to-date than in all of France, thanks to the Better Place network.

Better Place is backed by a world-class group of investors including HSBC and Israel Corp. that are fully dedicated to the company’s long-term success and view Better Place as a long-term, transformational investment in their portfolio.

The company has raised more than $750 million of equity financing to date.

Last week, Better Place announced its first-ever credit facility from a financial institution – a €40 million loan from the European Investment Bank.


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