July 31, 2008
Better Place Offers an Alternative to the Pickens Plan
Earlier this week Better Place announced the "unveiling of its new brand identity and online campaign".
In an article in the New York Times Thomas Friedman, author of "The World is Flat", suggests that the combination of Shai Agassi, Israeli entrepreneur and founder of Better Place, and T. Boone Pickens and his eponymous "Pickens Plan", represents "the start of an energy revolution":
The only good thing to come from soaring oil prices is that they have spurred innovator/investors, successful in other fields, to move into clean energy with a mad-as-hell, can-do ambition to replace oil with renewable power. Two of the most interesting of these new clean electron wildcatters are Boone and Shai.
Better Place advocates going to electric vehicles as soon as possible, without using natural gas fuelled vehicles as a bridge to a hydrogen economy as called for by the Pickens Plan. Better Place's particular angle is the provision of an infrastructure to allow electric vehicles travelling long distances to swap flat battery packs for fully charged ones at the electric equivalent of a filling station, and in "less time than it takes to fill up a gas tank". The cars would be rented rather than owned by the motorist.
Friedman quotes Agassi as saying his goal is to make his electric car:
so cheap, so trivial, that you won’t even think of buying a gasoline car. Once that happens your oil addiction will be over forever. You’ll be “off heroin" and "addicted to milk".
Tom Friedman's conclusion?
If only we had a Congress and president who, instead of chasing crazy schemes like offshore drilling and releasing oil from our strategic reserve, just sat down with Boone and Shai and asked one question: “What laws do we need to enact to foster 1,000 more like you?” Then just do it, and get out of the way.
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