Shai Agassi wants to address the infrastructure side of the electric car problem. While electric cars can nominally be "fueled" by any electrical outlet, the fact is accessible outlets don't necessarily exist where most electric cars will be used in the near to mid-term. Batteries as they exist today are also very expensive, heavy and have comparatively poor energy density, limiting the range of cars that use them.
To address those issues, Agassi and his company (Better Place) are cutting deals with governments around the world to install networks of public charging stations and battery exchange facilities.

In a conversation with the Washington Post, Agassi discusses what he describes as a broken business model for the auto industry. While he agrees that the United States needs an auto manufacturing infrastructure, also thinks it should be making a whole new kind of car, namely battery-powered models.

While Agassi's goal is worthy, some of his analysis seems flawed. For example he says that Detroit only made money on financing while losing money on selling vehicles. This is not accurate. When larger cars and trucks were still selling wel, Detroit made huge profits directly on the sales of those vehicles. It was small cars that they didn't make a profit on. In discussing his plan for exchangeable batteries he mentions hydrogen and says, "This is not the hydrogen freeway where you need to build an entire infrastructure" This implies that electric vehicles need no infrastructure which is patently false. His entire business is predicated on that infrastructure. A network of battery exchange stations is an infrastructure. Those stations will have to be built, the equipment to do exchanges installed and batteries and chargers purchased. If Agassi wants to make the Better Place plan a reality, he needs to be less disingenuous.


[Source: Washington Post]

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