Palo Alto-based Better Place, a company that builds electric-vehicle networks and is led by famous entrepreneur Shai Agassi, announced it will help the Japanese government in a pilot project to encourage the use of green cars in the country.
Better Place will build battery exchange stations in Nippon so that drivers of electric vehicles can change drained batteries to charged ones quickly, increasing the practicability of these cars. The company is funded with $200 million.
The Japanese Ministry of the Environment will start cooperating with Better Place (as the only non-Japanese company involved in the project) in January in Yokohama. Other partners include Fuji Heavy Industries and Subaru.
The project is scheduled to end in March or June next year and is part of a plan that aims at boosting the percentage of electric cars in Japan to an ambitious 50% by 2020.