Better Place Closes Massive $350M Round

Better Place, back in January, said it was in the process of raising a whopping $350 million to help it build out its network of charging and battery swap stations across nations like Israel and Denmark. Well according to an SEC filing this morning, the Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric car infrastructure startup just closed that massive round.

The funding is one of the largest rounds for cleantech ever, and is similar in size to the huge fund-raising done by thin-film solar company Solyndra. As of estimates in January, Better Place has raised about $750 million.

Better Place said back in January that the round was being led by HSBC Group, which will put in a whopping $125 million and will own 10 percent of the company’s shares. As of January the round also included investors Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Lazard Asset Management, and existing investors Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments and Maniv Energy Capital, among others.

Better Place intends to use these funds to continue deployments in countries where it’s currently working — Israel, Denmark and Australia — as well as Hawaii, and also to expand into new markets “in Europe and Asia.” Founder and CEO Shai Agassi (one of our Earth2Tech Top 15 Connected Car Influencers) said earlier this year that the company is planning to deploy between 15,000 and 20,000 charging stations for both Israel and Denmark (however, he’s also been more ambitious in previous years, saying he was aiming for hundreds of thousands of charging stations per country).

This latest funding won’t be the last capital to flow toward Better Place. As in any infrastructure-heavy play, the capital needed will be enormous. The company raised $200 million for its Israeli network and eventually plans to raise $1 billion to complete that project. For the Danish project Better Place has raised €103 million ($135.8 million) partly from state-controlled DONG Energy in the form of equity and convertible debt and plans to raise more money for that network, too. Renault is also investing up to $1 billion into making electric vehicles with swappable batteries.

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