Better Place Prices Driving Plan in Denmark

The closely-watched electric vehicle project Better Place has finally announced its first pricing in Denmark in advance of a launch of the service in the fourth quarter of this year. Now we’ll have to wait til the end of the year to see if consumers actually find the offer attractive.

Here’s the details: Potential Better Place customers in Denmark first have to buy one of the new Fluence Z.E.’s — made by Renault Nissan — which will cost $38,300 (205.000 DKK or €27.496), including VAT. That’s less than GM’s Volt, but higher in price than the Nissan LEAF.

Then drivers can pick between a couple subscription options, including the all-you-can-eat driving deal (more than 40,000 kilometers per year), that will cost $557 per month (2.995 DKK, €399), and an option for drivers that will drive less than 20,000 kilometers per year, which costs between $277 to $347 per month or (1.495 DKK, €199 to 1.895 DKK, €249).

The deals include unlimited charging from Better Place public charging spots and of course the battery swapping stations that differentiate the Better Place service from other competitors. The service also offers personal energy management, a private charge spot, and in-car navigation services, too.

If you look at the price tag alone of the car and the services, you might have sticker shock. But remember this is for Denmark, where the cost of cars and gas is high. Cars routinely cost $50,000 and above and are over 100 percent taxed. Hence why Better Place is launching first in Israel and Denmark and not a place with cheap gas and cheap cars like the U.S.

Better Place has also chosen Denmark because it’s utility Dong Energy is progressive and has been willing to partner — and invest — in Better Place. In January 2009 Better Place announced that it had raised €103 million ($135.8 million) in financing for the electric car-charging network in the country, though building out Better Place’s infrastructure across Denmark will cost more than that. Better Place has said to get Israel’s EV network up and running it’ll cost $200 million and Israel is about half the square kilometers of Denmark.

Denmark will be a very important test case for Better Place, as it figures out how attractive its offer will be to consumers in these special markets. Better Place has raised hundreds of millions of dollars in the run up to these first launches.

See my drive of the Fluence in the video clip below, via Copenhagen COP 15, the U.N. climate change summit: