web analytics
April 21, 2015 / 2 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post


Home » Blogs

Even Without Shai Agassi, Better Place Offers a Great Deal

Despite press attention, Better Place has not told a competent story to Israelis.
Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

Better Place founder Shai Agassi.
Photo Credit: David Terrar

I’m also not privy to the internal financial discussions or the status of the company. I do take slight umbrage when the press talk all about losses and don’t seem to make any allowance for investment. It’s completely normal for an infrastructure company such as this to spend a huge amount of money before getting any back! Just think what it costs to build an entire cell phone network before you make the first call! Are Vodafone or AT&T profitable? They invested huge sums in a network before they got any back.

The difference is that both those companies had other businesses that were ongoing and profitable while they invested for the future. Now they’re spending billions on 4G networks but they’re fortunate to have ongoing profitable business to cover the investment.

My Daily Driving Distance Distribution: How Many Days do I Drive a Given Distance? (km)

EVs Are The Future

There’s no doubt in my mind that within a few years or a decade the world will be transitioning to electrically driven cars. Whether the source of the electricity is a battery (my car), a battery and a petrol engine (Chevy Volt, Plug In Prius) or a hydrogen powered fuel cell (very unlikely in my opinion) the common element is an electric motor driving the wheels. Once you’ve driven a car set up this way you’ll understand why. This Huffington Post article is a pretty good summary (missing only one point – smart grids). John Voelcker’s article here in Green Car Reports is also excellent.

And no matter who’s proposing an alternative to battery switching, be it Tesla’s fast chargers or a Renault Zoe with fancy on board systems to accept very high electric current, nobody is close to the speed of refuelling I get at a switch station. Five minutes gives me 140km. The best anybody else will offer (Tesla with a $100,000 car) is 240km in 30 minutes. So Better Place’s rate is 28km/minute. Tesla’s is 8km/minute. And when batteries get bigger and the robots are pushed faster, Better Place’s refuel rate will go up and Tesla’s will stay largely the same.

Smart Grid

The point missed in the HuffPo article is what a managed system of electric car batteries can mean for a national electricity grid. This is part of what is called the “smart grid.” Better Place has the only significant managed network or smart grid of car batteries than can be used to store cheap or wasted overnight electricity. This is a huge issue and will be massively important as we move from burning fossils over which we have some control of the rate of burning, to renewable sources like wind and solar which blow or shine without any control from us.

This aspect of Better Place is much more strategic than most of the short sighted articles that are damning them as a failure today. It could even be one day this overnight storage of large amounts of renewable energy is so profitable that the company makes more from that and only breaks even on the driving aspects of the business.

Better Place’s Future

I’m not a completely disinterested observer and, when writing here at Israellycool, I’m not pretending to be a journalist. I’m an advocate for Better Place because I like the car, I like the system and I want it to succeed. Beyond that I have an obvious financial stake in the success or at least continued ongoing operation of the company.

There are also machinations in Europe and stories about why they opened a taxi trial in Amsterdam. I’m not an insider and don’t know the details. I don’t know much about the relationship with Renault and the prospect for other models, like the new smaller Zoe, to be brought to Israel or Denmark in battery switching form.

It may well be that Shai Agassi, having done a brilliant job in getting so much built and raise so much money to do it, is not the right guy to run the company today. I don’t know. The insiders I’ve spoken to, who have been there from the very start with Shai, are sad about the move, but optimistic about Evan. Only time will tell. I have heard from a number of sources that the company’s astonishingly high level of customer service flows directly from the wishes and will of Shai and for that he is a master.

About the Author: Brian of London regularly blogs at Israellycool.com about life in Israel, technology & business topics. He made aliyah from the UK to Israel in 2009, and owns and operates his own import company in Israel with more than 15 staff.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Even Without Shai Agassi, Better Place Offers a Great Deal”

Comments are closed.

Israel Shield Logo
Current Top Story
Amb. Thomas Pickering testified before the  House Armed Services Committee,  about Iran's nuclear program on June 19, 2014.
Brandeis Commencement Speaker Leads Iran Cheerleader Squad
Latest Blogs Stories
Doug Goldstein

Watch this Doug Goldstein video to learn how easy it’s to open a US brokerage account from overseas.


An Israeli TV show about Holocaust Day asserted the Holocaust is/was a European not Jewish tragedy

Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hillary Clinton. (archive)

“I am 100% convinced that she is not in any way anti-Semitic. She is in fact a philo-Semite”

Doug Goldstein

Poverty has become a thriving business; Learn how the payday loan has affected many US households

Pressure by Pres. Rivlin for a monstrous “national unity government” has made things worse for Bibi

How do money managers take care of your money? And have you ever heard of “socially responsible” investing?

In the memory of loved ones, I commit to continue the fight for our survival in their blessed memory

The US Consulate in Israel should have people helping US citizens on various tax & benefits issues

This whole Arab Palestinian myth was concocted to prevent a viable Jewish state.

Teaching integrity is allowing family, friends, and associates see the business of living your life.

Chumros-YES! But when it comes to the Chilul HaShem described in the article they couldn’t care less

Yarmouk is the opportunity for “Pro-Palestinian” groups to prove they aren’t just anti-Israel.

Why are employers reluctant to hire Charedim? Legitimate concerns or plain old fashioned prejudice?

Obama’s policies are endangering world peace. This isn’t just an “Israel problem.”

What are common market risks and how do they affect your investments?

Regavim is an NGO whose mandate is to preserve the land of Israel for the State & the Jewish people

More Articles from Brian of London
Better Place founder Shai Agassi.

On Monday, electric car company Better Place announced that Shai Agassi, up to now the face and driving force behind Better Place, was stepping back from his CEO rôle and would continue on as a member of the board and major shareholder. Evan Thornley, Better Place’s CEO in Australia, is stepping up to the global rôle. The news seemed to come out of the blue.

Better Place electric car dealership

If Israeli electric car company, Better Place, only gave the world an electric car that could switch an empty battery for a full one in five minutes that would have been enough! But Better Place is also the key to making renewable energy production practical all over the world. Dai aynu!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/even-without-shai-agassi-better-place-offers-a-great-deal/2012/10/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: