Wednesday, November 7, 2007

POTW: The Long Tailpipe

I've been musing and prosing lately about the virtues of batteries (versus biofuels) and the when, not if (10 years? 20?), ubiquity of battery-powered vehicles. This week's POTW courtesy of FutureLab: Radically re-thinking the automotive business model.

[Former SAP executive] Shai Agassi’s new gig is called Project Better Place and its mission is to create a new platform and ecosystem for electric cars, and Agassi has raised $200 million to get it off the ground.

What Agassi’s Better Place wants to do is to separate the battery from the car, get automakers to standardize on a single battery type, and then set up a network of charging sites (run by Better Place) where cars can drive through and have their batteries changed. Agassi says that current technology allows for batteries that can power cars for 100 miles.

Under the model that Agassi is proposing, cars would be sold without batteries by the car makers (potentially bundled with batteries by the car dealers) and Agassi’s company would sell monthly subscriptions to consumers for swapping out their batteries at charging sites.

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