Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Better Place


Better Place is an electric vehicle infrastructure company founded back in 2007 by Shai Agassi, a former head of Product and Technology group at SAP.  I first heard about it last year through a presentation Shai gave at TED (annual technology / entertainment / design conference), laying out the boldest, most realistic, and most exciting vision for oil-free world I've ever seen.  To say that his vision and expertise to make the world a cleaner and healthier place to live is inspirational is a major understatement.  I quickly joined their community online, and a LinkedIn group here, which keeps me updated on their progress. 

Better Place builds necessary infrastructure, i.e. a network of charging stations and battery swap stations, but with a truly brilliant well-worked out business model.  Drivers will be able to subscribe to variety of mileage plans, similar to a cell-phone plan, where the ownership of an EV is for the first time separated from owning a battery.  Consumers own electric cars, but subscribe to energy on a basis of miles driven.  The thorough saturation of charge spots and battery swap stations insure that you will never run out of energy to drive your EV, thus totally overcoming the worst thing about 100% electric cars today - severely limited mileage range.   The battery-swap stations are beautifully designed to quickly change your battery without a driver ever getting out of the car, in about the same time it takes to fill up with gasoline.  On top of that they partnered with Renault-Nissan to create the first purely electric vehicles that will NOT cost more than the traditional gas cars, look and feel as good as or BETTER than traditional cars, and EXCEED the performance of the gas vehicles with far better instant torque and accelleration than inefficient gasoline engine - i.e. affordability being the critical key to global EV adaptation by the mass market.

Better Place has been working with many governments around the world, and are now deploying their business in Israel, Denmark, and Australia, with US, Canada, Japan, and many other countries following up as the equity funding continues to grow.  This will no doubts be the most notable sustainable transportation success story very soon, and I'm more than convinced we're witnessing history in the making.  I personally cannot wait till we here in the US have their green vehicle infrastructure in place so I could finally live my dream of driving without pollutting the air we breathe.  Stay tuned for more exciting developments from Better Place I'll be posting here.

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