A Better Place
Israeli entrepreneur, Shai Agassi, is one of the leaders of the next generation of ‘giving the finger’ to the antiquated, bloated, often corrupt, greedy and irresponsible fossil fuel industry. He is the former CEO and founder of Better Place, one of the first successfully rising companies to tackle the technological, political and corporate challenges of bringing an efficient, publicly acceptable electric car model and infrastructure program.
His Street Creds
Standing at the forefront of energy change, Shai Agassi is backed by a list of impressive accolades that place him on a high enough pedestal to be reckoned with.
- CNN-Time magazine named him one of the 20 top ‘Global Influentials for 2003’.
- In 2009 Time magazine recognized him as one of its top ‘100 most influential people’.
- Foreign Policy magazine named him on the 100 most influential global thinkers list.
After graduating Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Agassi founded TopTier Software at the young age of 24. TopTier sold for $400 million dollars in 2001 and six years later this money was put to good use when Agassi launched his ‘Project Better Place’. It was in response to a question posed by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, when he asked just two years before, “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?”
Ride-n-swap may sound like a reality show, but in reality it is the ingenious brainchild of Project Better Place where the concept of a ride-n-swap battery transport infrastructure was born.
Better Place literature describes how they view current clean energy choices.
- Hydrogen fuel does not work globally.
- Hybrid automobiles are “too little, too late”.
- Bio-fuels have the potential to cause food shortages and release their own emissions.
- Natural gas is, well, fossil fuel.
Their solution to the above list has been to create an electric car that does not include the need for a battery to be purchased. Instead, the battery becomes a universal power source, much like gasoline. By setting up an infrastructure of battery-swap stations a person can drive the allotted distance, pull into a station, swap their depleted battery for a fully charged one and be on their way. In addition, electric cars can become more affordable as the power source will not have to be purchased. Just like giving you a tank of gas with your combustible engine purchase, an electric car dealer will give you a powered up battery to start out.
Better Place has launched its infrastructure plan in several cities throughout the globe and continues to grow. It also answers the question of how, even though more fossil fuel is assumed to be needed to produce battery power as demand grows, a supercomputer system evenly distributes energy so there is not a strain on the grid. This even distribution significantly reduces the need for unnecessary fossil fuel demand.
It is good to know that there are still highly capable innovators like Shai Agassi that are tirelessly thinking outside the box. Maybe, sooner than later, America will leap into a whole new clean energy grid.