Wednesday, April 17, 2013

For 99% of the Population

“How would you run a whole country without oil?” That’s what Shai Agassi is asking. Agassi is the founder of Better Place, which has developed a model and infrastructure for using electric cars as an alternative to fossil fuel technology (see The Good Times story of August 2011). His answer is to convert an entire country (in this case, Israel) to electric cars — a new car used by 99% of the population. But the car must be more convenient and more affordable than today’s car. His idea is to separate car ownership from battery ownership. It involves creating a network that allows charging a car most anywhere and swapping a battery within 2 minutes. The owner of his car would need to swap the battery fewer times than the owner of a car currently needs to stop for gas.

Agassi has created a new “consumable” — the electric mile, which costs 8 cents per mile. Due to technological advances, he predicts that e-mile will cost 2 cents per mile by 2020, as the battery life cycle improves (using clean electrons). This means a zero carbon, zero fossil fuel electric mile. Agassi calls it a “new economic factor.”

To hear Shai Agassi speak about “the network that makes electric cars make sense”, view his talk on TED: