Israeli Startup Buys Bankrupt Electric Car Firm

YERUSHALAYIM (AP) -

An Israeli energy startup has taken over what remains of Israel’s trailblazing — and now bankrupt — electric car venture, the new owner Gnrgy said.

Ran Eloya, founder and CEO of Gnrgy, said his company bought the remaining assets of Better Place for less than $450,000, a fraction of its $2 billion valuation less than two years ago.

Better Place filed for liquidation in May, six years after promising to revolutionize the auto industry by reducing the world’s oil dependency. The company burned through hundreds of millions of dollars building a network of chargers and battery-swapping stations, but experienced poor sales.

Eloya said his company would focus on operating the 1,800 public charging spots that service Israel’s more than 1,000 electric cars but would not sell cars or provide battery-swap services as Better Place did. Officials in the Israeli economics ministry and the courts said they were not immediately aware of the deal.

Better Place launched its operations in 2007 to great fanfare, starting out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel’s status as a global high-tech power. But it shut down in May after failing to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public.