Oct. 30, 2007: Source – BusinessWeek

Shai Agassi

Shai Agassi, a Silicon Valley technologist is letting his imagination fuel an idea that would redefine the auto industry as we know it. His plan is centered around a world inhabited by battery-powered all-electric cars. Some might call Mr. Agassi a futurist, or even a dreamer, but tell that to his venture capitalist partners who have ponied up more than $200 million to put his plan into action.

The company, known as Project Better Place doesn’t want to build electric cars, but rather play architect to a vast deployment of battery-charging stations that would keep electric cars going. The system would support green cars such as the Tesla and the Chevrolet Volt, and would sell electricity on a subscription basis. The recharging stations would take roughly two to three minutes to exchange batteries or “refuel”. And the goal is to make this infrastructure available worldwide. “It’s much easier to transport electrons than octane molecules,” Agassi said. “We’ve already got a grid that goes around the entire world; all we have to do is extend it.”

Mr. Agassis attributes two things to making his vision possible: the rising cost of oil and the new generation of long-lasting batteries. He expects Project Better Place to begin commercial sales and service in as little as two years.

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