From the Desk of David Pogue – Electric Cars for All! (No, Really This Time) – NYTimes.com
Electric Cars for All? David Pogue (NY Times) says yes, and explains in this amusing and inspiring article. First, he observes, electric cars share two big challenges. One: expensive batteries that make their price high. Two: No “battery-replenishing” stations, anywhere. Thus, the situation is stuck with expensive electric car models which can travel only short distances.
Well, that’s about to change in a very intriguing way, and it seems Shai Agassi, CEO of Better Place, a company addressing this issue, has learned its Business-Model-2.0 lessons quite well.
First, says Agassi through Pogue’s interview, they’re building the infrastructure first. It means building the cllular network before selling the first cellphone. Starting in Israel, then Denmark, then San Francisco Bay Area, they’re investing millions to put in place “battery-swapping” stations. Simple, right? If you’re traveling over say 100 miles, you don;t want to spend idle time waiting for your battery to recharge. You stop at a swapping station and you swap it for a charged one. What do you pay? The actual miles traveled with a battery, not the battery itself! Thus, this model seems a lot like the cellphone industry’s: pay for the minutes, not the phones!
This brings the second point: if you commit to say 20,000 miles a year, they will give you a monthly discount on the car’s financing payment. More miles? The car may actually come to you for “free”!
Read the full article…