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Company behind EV charging kiosks across Hawaii is forced to liquidate

JERUSALEM » Better Place, an Israeli-based company that had been a major player in developing Hawaii’s electric vehicle charging network until selling its local operations in March, reached the end of the road Sunday when it announced plans to liquidate.

The company started out as a source of pride and a symbol of Israel’s status as a global high-tech power, but it suffered from a local brand of hubris and overreach. Better Place’s end came after it burned through almost a billion dollars and failed to sell its silent fleet of French-made sedans to a skeptical public. The company’s earlier pullout from Hawaii was part of Better Place’s exit from the North America market.

It was an audacious idea that came to symbolize Israel’s self-described status as “Start-Up Nation,” a company that believed it could replace most gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles and reduce the world’s reliance on oil — and all within a few years.

But it all came crashing down.

“This is a very sad day for all of us. We stand by the original vision as formulated by Shai Agassi of creating a green alternative that would lessen our dependence on highly polluting transportation technologies,” the company said. “Unfortunately, the path to realizing that vision was difficult, complex and littered with obstacles, not all of which we were able to overcome.”
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