On January 2, , Delek US Energy, Inc. (formerly known as Delek US Holdings, Inc.), Delaware corporation (“ Old Delek ”), entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Alon USA Energy. Better Place was a venture-backed international company that developed and sold battery-charging and battery-switching services for electric karacto.xyz was formally based in Palo Alto, California, but the bulk of its planning and operations were steered from Israel, where both its founder Shai Agassi and its chief investors resided.. The company opened its first functional charging station the. May 11, · Delek US Holdings, Inc. reported Thursday that it expects to cut approximately $14 million in annual operating expenses after having closed the sale of its equity interests in a subsidiary that.
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The steam car , the internal combustion engine automobile, and the electric car emerged as the main competing technologies in the late s until the s. The concept of exchangeable battery service was first proposed as early as in order to overcome the limited operating range of electric cars and trucks.
The concept was first put into practice by Hartford Electric Light Company through the GeVeCo battery service and was initially available for electric trucks. The vehicle owner purchased the vehicle from General Vehicle Company GeVeCo, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company without a battery and the electricity was purchased from Hartford Electric through an exchangeable battery.
The owner paid a variable per-mile charge and a monthly service fee to cover maintenance and storage of the truck. Both vehicles and batteries were modified to facilitate a fast battery exchange. The service was provided between and and during that period vehicles using it covered more than 6 million miles. Beginning in a similar service was operated in Chicago for owners of Milburn Light Electric cars who also could buy the vehicle without the batteries.
Electric forklifts have used battery swapping since at least   and a rapid battery replacement system was implemented to help maintain 50 electric buses at the Summer Olympics in China. Better Place implemented a business model wherein customers entered into subscriptions to purchase driving distance similar to the mobile telephone industry from which customers contract for minutes of airtime.
The initial cost of an electric vehicle might also have been subsidized by the ongoing per-distance revenue contract just as mobile handset purchases are subsidized by per-minute mobile service contracts.
The Better Place approach was to enable manufacturing and sales of different electric cars separately from their standardized batteries  in the same way that petrol cars are sold separately from their fuel.
Petrol is not purchased upfront, but is bought a few times a month when the fuel tank needs filling. Similarly, the Better Place monthly payment would cover electric "fuel" costs including battery, daily charging and battery swaps. Better Place was to allow customers to pay incrementally for battery costs including electric power, battery life, degradation, warranty problems, maintenance, capital cost, quality, technology advancement and anything else related to the battery. The per-distance fees would cover battery pack leasing , charging and swap infrastructure, purchasing sustainable electricity , profits, and the cost of investor capital.
The Better Place electric car charging infrastructure network was based on a smart grid software platform using Intel Atom processors and. NET Framework , or comparable vendors. This platform was first of its kind in the world and was to enable Better Place to manage the charging of hundreds of thousands of electric cars simultaneously by automatically time-shifting recharging away from peak demand hours of the day, preventing overload of the electrical grid of the host country.
Better Place encouraged governments to mandate the use of international standards and open access to recharge across charging networks to facilitate competing networks. Better Place displayed Charge Spot charging stations that used a connector with the same pin layout as SAE J but housed in a non-standard, triangular plug.
Better Place said it had pre-sold enough contracts to make its first deployed network in Israel profitable at launch. Agassi stated that the company's plan was to have the network's electricity generated entirely by renewable energy from solar arrays and wind farms if necessary,   thus invalidating the "long-smokestack" accusation leveled against electric vehicles which rely on the nonrenewable sources of the electricity.
In Israel, where the first Better Place deployment took place, the electric grid is based mostly on fossil fuels, rendering the renewable energy vision practically impossible in the short term. The first prototype car was the Renault Laguna with a battery instead of a fuel tank and an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. The Renault Fluence Z.
The floor-mounted battery packs in these electric cars were designed to be changed out robotically in less than two minutes, which was quicker than the average petroleum refuel, allowing for battery-swap services like those proposed by Better Place and Tesla Motors.
With areas around cities covered with battery switching stations , also called battery-swap stations, drivers would potentially have electric cars with an unlimited driving range for long distance trips.
In order to access the battery switch station, Better Place customers would have to swipe their membership card. The remaining process was fully automated, similar to going through a car wash , so the driver never had to leave the car.
In Better Place's demonstration battery switch stations, a robotic arm removed the depleted battery and replaced it with a full one. Better Place battery switch stations were claimed to support multiple battery types of all kinds of electric cars as long as the battery could be removed from under the car. The main alternative technology to the battery-switching technique promoted by Better Place is DC fast charging. Better Place claimed that its subscription model had customers effectively paying only the prorated mileage cost without any battery ownership problems, whereas the fast charging model involves the customer bearing all the battery purchase, ownership, maintenance, and replacement costs, in addition to the cost of the electricity to recharge the battery.
Better Place claimed that far fewer fast charging and battery switch stations would be needed than the current number of petroleum fuel refill stations, because drivers would usually recharge "refuel" electric cars at home, offices, shopping centers, commercial areas, and the like.
On May 13, , Better Place premiered their battery switching station to the public in Yokohama where they had been invited by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment. The vehicle drove up on a ramp and was aligned on the swapping pad. The battery shuttle then engaged and rose up toward the bottom of the vehicle. It made contact with the battery, released it, lowered it, and moved the depleted battery pack away from the car. The charged battery pack was then inserted.
The discharged battery was returned to the charging bay. The battery switch was complete in less than two minutes and the vehicle drove away.
By building infrastructure that made owning an electric car more practical, they hoped to increase demand. The first prototype battery switch station opened in Yokohama, Japan on May 14, , was designed by Yoav Heichal, chief engineer for Better Place research and development group. The company signed an agreement with Dor Alon Energy to install battery replacement points, which would run alongside the petroleum refueling station' normal business.
Dor Alon CEO, Israel Yaniv, said, "Dor Alon is the first energy company that will enable owners of electric car owners of the future to obtain electric refueling services at its gas stations. We consider this agreement with Better Place to be a strategic partnership that will create real value and innovation for the company's activity.
In April , a day switchable-battery electric taxi demonstration project was launched in Tokyo , using three Nissan Rogue crossover utility vehicles, converted into electric cars with switchable batteries provided by A Systems.
The battery switch station deployed in Tokyo was more advanced than the Yokohama switch system demonstrated in Nissan decided to continue the trial until late November In October Better Place announced its commitment to launch a three-year demonstration program with electric-powered taxis in the San Francisco Bay Area , in partnership with the cities of San Francisco and San Jose, California , taxi operators and carsharing programs, regional and state agencies, consumer and EV organizations, and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
The program would deploy and operate four battery switching stations in the San Francisco to San Jose corridor to support a fleet of switchable-battery EV taxis. A battery-powered taxi demonstration project was launched at Schiphol Airport , Amsterdam , in The company said it was in talks with more than 25 countries around the world. According to Better Place, its model for sustainable mobility would help Australia move toward oil independence.
With the world's seventh highest per capita rate of car ownership, the country had nearly 15 million cars on the road after adding over a million new cars in From its early days, doubts were raised as to the effectiveness of Better Place's centralised model of providing charging infrastructure, with some anticipating that the model would not be widely adopted. In May , the company presented a prototype of its electric car at a press conference in Tel Aviv.
Better Place also announced plans to develop electric recharge grids in the city of San Francisco  and the state of Hawaii. Australian finance group Macquarie said it would work with Better Place to fund the construction of plug-in stations, and Australian utility AGL Energy committed to powering those stations with renewable electricity.
In March , Deutsche Bank analysts issued a glowing report on the company stating that its approach could be a "paradigm shift" that caused "massive disruption" to the auto industry, and which had "the potential to eliminate the gasoline engine altogether. The same report stated that "[i]mprovements in battery technology will allow for increased power, increased electrical propulsion, and bigger gains in fuel economy.
In Australia a roll-out of charge stations was planned to begin in the major eastern coast cities before expanding nationally. It was estimated that these would give comparable coverage to the existing 13, petrol stations then in operation.
The first charge spot was installed in Canberra in late ,  but in January , after fewer than 20 public charge spots had been installed  the rollout was halted and the board of Better Place decided to concentrate on its two existing markets, Israel and Denmark.
Better Place was also to be the preferred provider of home and dealership charging stations for the Holden Volt , with the partnership announced in July Before the end of the year, Better Place was going to open a battery switch station and joint education center in the southern city of Guangzhou. Shai Agassi said that China Southern Grid was embracing battery switch as the primary means of range extension. China Southern Power Grid pilot projects and other joint activities were supposed to explore the benefits that switchable-battery electric cars and the networked infrastructure that supports them might deliver to the electric grid in CSG's service area, which spanned five provinces, one million square kilometers, and million people in Southern China.
Electric utility State Grid Corporation of China planned to build over 2, electric-charging and battery-swap stations by These would have had , charging poles , but they did not indicate how many, if any, of them would have been battery-swap stations.
In April , Better Place signed a memorandum of understanding with Chery Automobile , China's biggest independent car maker, to develop prototypes for electric vehicles to be used in regional state-sponsored pilot projects. Using the Better Place model, Dong hoped to take advantage of the existing electric grid and electric vehicle batteries to harness and store the abundance of wind-generated power, and distribute it appropriately for transportation consumption.
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Already have access? Email: Password: Forgot your password? Remember login. You must correct or enter the following before you can sign up:. Please provide a professional email:. Access to Justice. Asset Management. Capital Markets. Class Action. Commercial Contracts. Consumer Protection. Government Contracts. Intellectual Property. International Arbitration. International Trade. In connection with approving the financing, Judge Gropper permitted affiliated debtors to use excess cash collateral from bankruptcy-remote special purpose entities which, to the surprise of many market participants, were included in the Chapter 11 proceedings.
Background General Growth Properties, Inc. By the time of its bankruptcy filing on April 16, , it was the second largest shopping mall operator in the U. Arguing that the value of the collateral in certain of the SPEs is sufficient to protect the interests of the SPE Lenders, the Company proposed that excess cash collateral from rents be made available to support the DIP Facility. Rather, the Pre-Petition SPE Agents argued only that the filings were inappropriate because the SPEs: were not insolvent or in danger of becoming so, were not facing the imminent maturity of their facilities and did not directly benefit from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
A hearing on the motions to dismiss is scheduled for May 27,