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Better Place to work with Chery on electric cars

Electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place says it has reached a deal to work with China's Chery Automobile on new technology for the Chinese auto market.

California-based Better Place said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Chery, China's largest independent car maker and exporter, to collaborate on electric vehicle technology.

Under the agreement, the two companies will jointly develop switchable-battery electric vehicle prototypes in the hopes of securing regional Chinese government pilot projects, Better Place said.

Better Place is aiming to build a network of charging stations for electric cars, leasing batteries to customers for use in their vehicles. Better Place is already building networks in Israel, Denmark, and Australia.

The well-funded start-up raised $350 million in January from a consortium led by HSBC and Morgan Stanley Investment Management. The funding valued the company at $1.25 billion.

China overtook the United States as the world's biggest auto market last year. Chery sold around 500,000 vehicles in 2009.