Electric-vehicle charging company Better Place recently announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Chinese automaker Chery to collaborate on EV technology and that it had formed partnerships in Japan to demonstrate fast-battery-exchange capability in taxis. Better Place and Chery will jointly develop switchable-battery EV prototypes with the goal of securing regional Chinese government EV pilot projects. “With only 2% of China’s population owning cars, and with 80% of sales in 2009 to first-time car buyers, China has the opportunity to create and lead an entirely new category around clean transportation,” said Dan Cohen, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Better Place. “With the scale of Chery’s design and manufacturing capability and an industrial policy that favors EV over ICE (internal-combustion engine), we believe China represents an unprecedented opportunity for Better Place." Chery is China's largest independent automaker. In Japan, Better Place is involved in a 90-day project to demonstrate battery-exchange capabilities in three Tokyo taxis. The company says battery exchange can be done in less time than it takes to fill a conventional car with fuel.