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Better Place joins Japan electric vehicles project

Dec 9, 2008 - The Associated Press

Better Place, a U.S. company that promotes electric vehicles, said Tuesday it will build battery exchange stations in Japan as part of a government pilot project to encourage the use of green cars.

Electric vehicles are drawing global attention because they produce no polluting emissions and don't need gasoline. But electric vehicles must be recharged when their batteries run low.

Better Place builds battery exchange stations, where drivers with no time to charge can trade drained batteries for charged ones - providing infrastructure that helps make electric vehicles a practical option.

The Japanese Environment Ministry invited Better Place to take part in the feasibility project for three to six months starting in January in several cities, starting with the port city of Yokohama, according to Better Place.

The project includes Japanese automakers, and Better Place is the only foreign company taking part, it said.

Founded in 2007, Better Place, based in Palo Alto, California, is building electric vehicle networks with partners in Israel, Denmark, Australia and the U.S.

"Better Place is honored to participate in this groundbreaking program in a country with so much auto-manufacturing expertise and history," said Shai Agassi, founder and chief executive of Better Place.