Ministry questions EV Group's ability to buy Better Place

Transportation Minister says "deep doubts have arisen regarding the stability of the purchaser."

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August 8, 2013 17:50
2 minute read.
Nadav in Better Place car

Nadav in Better Place car_390. (photo credit: Nadav Shemer)

 
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The Transportation Ministry on Thursday expressed doubts about EV Group’s ability to fulfill its obligations as the purchaser of the bankrupt electric car company Better Place.

The ministry rejected the company’s claims that it held up licenses necessary to sell the electric cars.

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The licenses, it said in a brief filed to the Central District Court, had not been granted because the group had not filed necessary documents, including bank guarantees, proof of equity, and clarifying commitments for existing and future customers.

“Already at this early stage deep doubts have arisen regarding the stability of the purchaser and the seriousness, which casts doubt on its ability to address all the needs of electric vehicle owners in Israel,” the ministry wrote.

Hoping to replace the EV Group as the purchaser of Better Place, the Merkur- CCGI group, a collaboration between the Florida-based Car Charging Group, Inc.

and the Israeli firm Success Parking Ltd., run by Tsahi Merkur, claimed to the court in July that the EV Group was not able to meet its commitments.

The Green EV consortium, led by American-Israeli solar entrepreneur Yosef Abramowitz, had told the court that delayed payments in the bankruptcy proceedings were due to bureaucratic red tape at the Transportation Ministry, saying the ministry had taken away the import license from 350 new Better Place vehicles it intended to sell after the initial Better Place bankruptcy.



Despite a 500-person waiting list of potential buyers, Green EV said the lack of licenses prevented it from selling 200 of the cars at a discounted rate of NIS 70,000 each, for a total NIS 14 million, which was expected to cover milestone and company operation payments for the next few months.

Granted a court extension and demand that the Transportation Ministry cooperate, the group made its first payment of NIS 2m. on Tuesday, but that was late.

Central District Court Judge Ilan S. Shiloh had extended the consortium’s deadline to submit a July 31 payment of NIS 3.5m., determining that Green EV must pay NIS 2m. into a trustee account by Monday, August 5, at 6 p.m., and that the full NIS 3.5m. payment would only be due within 14 days of the ministry’s release of the cars.

The consortium “apologized to the court and to the company liquidators for the delay in transferring the sum, which occurred due to the transfer of money from abroad,” Green EV said.

Sharon Udasin contributed to this report.

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