Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Electric Vehicles: "Wait! Did Better Place Just Change Its Business Strategy?"

We don't post much on the EV biz. Fascinating as it is I don't see it making money as a portfolio-type investment. Mr. Agassi has run an almost perfect PR/marketing campaign, you'd have to try not to have been exposed, so we do pay some attention.
From The Big Money's Shifting Gears blog:

Battery swapping, battery swapping, battery swapping. This has been Better Place’s alleged strategy for getting around the problem of limited ranges for the current state-of-the-art in electric cars. When your battery runs out of juice in a Better Place car, you pull into a swapping station where an automated system switched your battery for a new, fully charged one. This sounds great, but when Better Place CEO began stumping for it—and stump for it he did, pretty much everywhere, all the time—the idea was met with a hail of skepticism, and not just from the media and EV wonks. Major automakers said it was a dumb idea because no one would every agree to develop a standardized battery. Some even suggested that it would be dangerous.

CEO Shai Agassi disagreed.

But has Better Place heard this and made an adjustment? So it would seem, if this MarketWatch video is any indication. Better Place’s plan is first described in terms of charging infrastructure, and only then is the battery swapping scheme showcased. Makes sense. Charging in the go, or at home, is more palatable than the idea of having to locate a battery swapping station. Charging stations are also easier to build and install, and with the right technology, they require no real monitoring. ...MORE