Better Place CEO in Davos: In 2020 There’ll Be More Electric Cars Than Gas

Shai Agassi, the CEO of Better Place EV at a press conference.

Pioneers can make startling predictions, and that’s what Shai Agassi from Better Place has done in Davos, at a meeting of the World Economic Forum last week. He tells AP: Before 2020 more people everywhere will be buying electric cars than those powered by gasoline. “It doesn’t mean that oil is not necessary, but we’re starting the way out,” said Agassi, an Israeli who launched the switchable battery electric car concept a few years ago. And which we’ve reported on frequently over the last three years.

The problem with existing cars is the range of the battery. So Agassi came up with the idea of switchable one, that works a bit the same as the cell phone business – on a pay per use model. Instead of waiting hours for the charge, car owners head to station which looks like a car wash, and switch the batteries in minutes.

His native Israel is the first country that will go live with the electric car, with the first 5,000 cars and 56 stations to be rolled out by the end of this year. In 2012, Denmark, Australia, Hawaii and the San Francisco Bay area are expected to join the trials.

To date some $700 million has been raised by Better Place, and one-third of it has been spent on building the battery stations.

“In Israel, in 2016, plus or minus a year, more electric cars will be sold than gasoline cars. When that happens in Country One, within two years you will see it in every country,” he said assertively.

Bill Clinton is a believer in this prophecy: “Israel will become the first country in the world to put 100,000 all-electric cars on the road,” he said last week at the Forum. “Not the US. Not China. Not countries much bigger — Israel!”

Currently Better Place cars are being developed by Renault SA. The removable batteries would have a driving range of 100 miles, or 160 km.  Four battery swap stations are promised along any route. The cost is expected to be about the same as driving a car powered by oil.

Agassi apparently isn’t phased.


Read more on Better Place:
Green Prophet’s Maurice Test Drives the Better Place Car in Israel

Will Better Place Partner With the Chinese to Make the Chery?

Better Place Technology and the New Nissan Leaf

Better Place Receives Investment Fuel from HBSC

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3 thoughts on “Better Place CEO in Davos: In 2020 There’ll Be More Electric Cars Than Gas”

  1. ask says:

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  2. m.kones,architect-ecoplanner says:

    the idea is great;its application is problematic!in denmark,where 60% of its power derives from renewables,it might be acceptable;in israel,though,where 95% of its power derives from coal,gas and oil,electric cars will only contribute negatively to the greenhouse gases problem,because of their indirect increase of non-renewable resources consuption!it would be better to invest in more energy efficient public transport, such as hyvrid buses and METRO railways,than private electric cars for which there are not enough parking lots anyway!

  3. ffinder says:

    “Critics are worried that Better Place will be establishing a monopoly”

    > No, you will always be able to buy EV’s from Nissan, GM etc.

    “and green groups are against the laying down of new infrastructure.”

    > Yeah, but ending oil far outweighs a new infrastructure.

    “Others argue that Israel’s electric grid won’t support the system.”

    > Better Place electric car charging infrastructure network will be controlled by a smart software platform, unique and the first of it’s kind in the world that will enable Better Place to manage the charging of hundreds of thousands of electric cars simultaneously during peak hours of the day without overloading the electrical grid of the host country.


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