Better Place head Shai Agassi told the Australian car industry that it is looking at "certain extinction" unless it moves towards plug-in vehicles. Never one to let a good quote go by as he tours the world promiting EVs – he recently told the Chinese that the future of the electric car rests on their shoulders – Agassi said that since all new cars will be electric in 20 years (a bold claim), Australia could become the Saudi Arabia of the 21st Century if they quickly start making EVs and the batteries needed to power them. During his Deakins 2009 Eco-Innovation speech in Melbourne, Agassi said:
A billion electric car batteries will need to be made - that is the biggest industrial opportunity in the world today... Australia can pick whether to be an exporter of iron ore, phosphate and lithium, or of kilometres [in the form of batteries].
Better Place is working on an EV infrastructure in Australia that would be in place by late 2012, according to The Age. If Better Place can get just 50,000 cars in Australia to use their battery swap technology, the company will break even, Better Place's Brumby Thornley told The Age. Agassi predicted that electric cars will "quickly drop" to around $20,000 (U.S.) once economies of scale are in place.