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Renault Fluence ZE concept - click above for high-res image gallery

Renault Fluence Zero Emissions Concept - Click above for high-res image gallery

Project Better Place battery swap - Click above for hi-res image gallery

Toyota's Bill Reinert should be better known. With so many quotable statements coming from GM's Bob Lutz and Tesla Motor's Elon Musk, perhaps Reinert, Toyota Motor Sales' national manager or the advanced technology group, is just overshadowed in the OMG series. But, during a recent conference sponsored by Fortune in Orange County, Reinert made a play to get his dramatic words out there. Speaking to Automobile Mag, he said:

Coda electric sedan - Click above for high-res image gallery

Shai Agassi has big ideas when it comes to electric cars. He wants to build networks of public charging outlets and battery swap stations. He also wants to sell electric cars with a battery subscription plan similar to cell phone calling plans. In an interview with CNET Agassi revealed that he wants to sell his electric car for about $20,000 before any tax credits. With a $7,500 federal credit that price comes down to almost $12,000.

Better Place may be getting a helpful boost as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) are considering installing the company's infrastructure to charge future electric jeeps and troop carriers, as well as civilian cars. Better Place has close ties with the Jewish state and the CEO of its Israeli chapter, Major General Moshe Kaplinsky, used to be the Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF. The electric infrastructure company could certainly use the support of the country's military if it is to attain founder

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.

It's hard to image a more beautiful place than Hawaii. But Shai Agassi and Linda Lingle want to make it a "Better Place." The volcanic archipelago is one of the most remote populated places on the planet, sitting out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. That means that almost anything except the fruit that's grown there and the fish caught in the sea is much more expensive than anywhere else in the US because of the transportation costs. The tropical environment is also extremely sensitive to dis

Better Place's Shai Agassi is all over the map, and I don't mean because his company is talking about unleashing electric cars in Australia, Israel, Denmark and other places. Back in October, he claimed that the Chevy Volt would be a "niche product." Whatever accuracy that statement has, it certainly doesn't seem to jive with the message he gave to the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco recently, where he once again proposed giving people free electric cars if they signed up for Better Place's elec

Last week, Better Place CEO Shai Agassi gave a speech in San Francisco trying to sell his EV ideas. The Bay Area is one place that Agassi's battery-swapping electric vehicle company wants to make, well, better. So far, Israel and Denmark have officially signed up for the program, but SF can join the list of other areas where Better Place might set up shop (i.e., Japan). Should California install the Better Place system, Agassi said last week, the infrastructure would cost $1.5 billion. To do the

Shai Agassi likes what he's hearing from French president Nicolas Sarkozy. Sarkozy recently announced a plan to expand sustainable transportation infrastructure in France, including more money for electric vehicles. The founder of Project Better Place - and someone with an apparent inability to find a media outlet he doesn't like - said that France's move accelerates "the inevitable electrification of the automobile" (see also: Johnson Controls).

By now many of us around these parts know who Shai Agassi is and what he wants to do. He wants to build a distribution infrastructure of swappable batteries to be used in electric cars with the ultimate goal of making EVs mainstream. The problem is that electric cars remain an expensive proposition. Even with Agassi's approach that would sell the EV without a battery and add on a subscription model for the battery, the up-front cost will remain higher than conventional cars. Nonetheless, in Pari

Bad news for fans of the Better Place plan - maybe. According to a report on an Israeli business website, Renault executives at a conference in Geneva have said that the electric car bound for Israel, to be franchised by Shai Agassi's Better Place, will be delayed by a year. However, the website also states 2011 as the new launch date which is basically when Renault has originally said it would happen. Perhaps it is just a matter of it happening at year's end rather than the beginning. No reason

No one could ever accuse Shai Agassi, the man behind electric-car infrastructure company Project Better Place, of not being ambitious. He has been all over the planet making deals with major car makers and various countries. His American discussions have been somewhat more modest though with a city here, and an island-state there. No longer.

We've told you all about Shai Agassi's (above left) ambitious Project Better Place and how PBP has plans to create a charging and battery-swapping infrastructure to support fleets of electric cars in Israel, Denmark and possibly Japan. We've also noted not only PBP's deals with Renault to be the first major auto supplier for the scheme but Renault's repeated announcements of its intention to bring electric cars to America in couple of years from now. Now all of this seems to be coming together a

One of the launching points for Shai Agassi's Project Better Place is in Israel and it looks like the first tangible progress might be demonstrated this weekend. The CEO of PBP is planning to drive a prototype electric car that is being developed at around noon on Sunday at the Fairgrounds and Conference Center in Tel Aviv Israel. Agassi will apparently provide an update on the status of the project to develop both electric cars and a charging infrastructure. Israel is just one of a number of co

We told you early this morning about the new electric car company Project Better Place. The founder and CEO, Shai Agassi made an appearance on CNBC 11:35 AM EST and the full video of his interview is available online. The video includes a computer graphic simulation of one of the Project Better Place electric cars and the battery swapping station. It appears there are two kinds of stations; one, a modified parking spot, which I guess would be in a city parking lot and the other a covered, cargo