Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

I Want This Car!

Posted by shanamaidel on July 29, 2008

The first real electric car network

The first real electric car network

Today there was a lovely editorial by Thomas Friedman published in the New York Times. In it was mentioned an Israeli fellow by the name of Shai Agassi.

He’s the founder of Better Place, the first company to bring fully functioning electric cars to a marketplace. The test Markets: Israel and Denmark- both of which have access to large amounts of renewable energy (wind and solar, respectably), governments with large taxes on oil, and urban populations within 150 km (about 93.2 miles) apart, just within the range of the battery.

They are working with Nissan/Renault to bring these cars to market, and the cars are going to be very cheap (or in some cases, free!). The fuel is going to work on a subscription model similar to cell phone plans. You buy your miles/batteries in advance, just like you buy minutes in advance. You now can hedge your travel, and plan a vacation. With competition, for electricity (especially renewable electricity), imagine how much the price of travel will drop. Welcome back the Great American Road Trip! Though battery disposal will still be a problem…

Brilliant. I want one! And I can’t even drive. 🙂

Some changes I would add:

A) Invest more money in long term batteries. Parts of the US are more than 100 miles apart between houses, let alone cities.

B)Adopt parts of the ZipCar Model. (i.e., access to a fleet of cars). Allow people to buy into time/fuel on a primary car, and charge higher rates for secondary cars. I have yet to hear of a car that is suitable for all driving conditions and needs. The local driving small, fast date car, is different than the drive in the country with your family car, which is different that multiple errands of a soccer mom (including 5-10 bags of groceries), which is different that driving across the country, which is different than driving off the road. The battery could power them all, but the same body/engine…nah. Every person is a hybrid of all these needs, with certain of needs more common than others. A fleet could be developed for a families in the ‘burbs, for single people who rarely drive in big cities, and for people out in the country.

However, I’m betting that if the option were out there to occasionally trade cars for the more suitable (or the more fun) it would be nice . Or useful in the case of air travel. Drop off your car in your hometown, pick up a new car wherever you are when you get to a new location. Something more suitable will be waiting there for you. A small city car for the Bay Area would not be very useful in, say, a vacation to Yosemite.

See. This is why I want a cellphone-like car. Means more cars for me (eventually). With cheaper fuel. And more diffuse maintenance costs.

Want to go out for a spin?

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