Company says it sold 48 electric cars in auto show; however, half of buyers cancel order following replacement of CEO

Tomer Hadar, Calcalist
Published: 11.06.12

Nearly half of the orders placed for Better Place’s electric cars at the auto show the company held last month were canceled shortly after, Calcalist has learned.

Last September, Better Place announced it would participate in the Automania car show held by Albar Leasing. Better Place offered visitors special private leasing tracks for its electric Renault vehicles. The company announced that 48 of the 1,090 cars sold in the show were its electric cars.

From the beginning of the year, Better Place has sold 49 cars a month on average, so its sales at the show were an impressive achievement; however, during the Sukkot holiday when the auto show was held, the company announced it was removing CEO Shai Agassi and replacing him with Better Place Australia CEO Evan Thornley.

Calcalist has learned that as a result of the announcement, nearly half of the buyers who placed a purchase order for an electric car decided to buy an ordinary gas-fueled vehicle instead.

According to October sales figures published two days ago by the Israel Vehicles Importers Association, Better Place sold 33 cars that month, including those offered at the car show.

The company says that October’s low delivery rates reflect the vicissitudes the company has been subject to over the past month; however, shortly after Agassi’s removal, Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kaplinsky had said, “We sold 48 electric cars in the past week. We feel immense support from our customers and a great amount of interest.”

Albar said in response, “The figures are inaccurate. Some of the orders for electric cars placed at the show have been filled and some are still being processed. Naturally it takes longer to fill an order for an electric car than for an ordinary car due to the requirement to install a charging post at the client’s home”.

Better Place commented, “The fair was successful for the company – nearly 20% of the cars sold are Fluence ZE. We are unfamiliar with the cancelation figures that were reported.”

This report was originally published in Hebrew by Calcalist,7340,L-4301774,00.html