Do you want to live in a “Better Place”?

Road side EV charging meters

Well that’s what Shai Agassi wants, so he decided to create a company called Better Place to, as they say,

accelerate the transition to sustainable transport by globally providing electric vehicle (EV) services

Better Place is one of the few, if not the only, company that is working on the challenge of providing the total infrastructure to support electric vehicles.

Surely, I hear you ask, what could we need other than charging points?

Let’s imagine a scenario where at 7 p.m. we all arrive home from work, we park our EV cars in our garages or on the side of the road and then….plug them in! Sounds cool for us, but this is in fact a nightmare for today’s electricity generation & distribution companies. For example, the Football World Cup, viewed by millions at home, has hundreds of thousands of fans all rushing into the kitchen at half-time to turn the kettle on…

With EVs there’s potentially going to be a much higher demand when they plug in. But at the same time not all the EVs will be fully discharged, so some clever energy management could help to balance electricity demands & availability, by discharging some EVs to re-charge others. It’s almost like managing a power station in it’s own right – perhaps a scary thought for today’s Power Gen companies…?

Denmark,on the other hand, is turning this challenge to their advantage. Twenty percent of their electricity is generated by wind turbines. But turbines are generally most active at night when winds are most stable (turbines will automatically shutdown when winds are gusty), but electricity demand is low at night so batteries are needed to store the energy produced, so why not put wheels on the batteries…

That’s not all, there are Quickdrop stations to change your discharged battery if you haven’t time to wait for a charge; there’s clever navigation software combined with the vehicle’s charge level to find the best solution for your journey. . . I could go on, have a look instead at the video, albeit a little too “perfect and shiny white teeth” it does show well the general idea.  Oh – and check out the EV’s registration plates 🙂

The great news that DS is already working with Better Place, providing them with the software for battery and mechanical design and for exchanging data with Renault.

I hope that DS can work on lots more projects with this innovative company. Stay tuned…

Sustainably yours,

Ps. check out my previous posts

  • A nice project and video. But seriously, do you imagine the nightmare if you foret to plug your car at night? 1000 times worse than forgetting to charge your iPhone.

    There’s also an issue with the size of the area covered by such project as Better Place. This works fine for small cities or countries, like Denmark, Israel or paris suburbs. I can’t imagine it would be to cross the US and have to charge (or swap batteries) every 100kms.

    Maybe our driving future will be much similar to what happens to the phone industry: several companies, with different formats and protocols.

  • Jonathan

    Cars may need to have docking stations like laptops…

    There will definitely be specific solutions for each situation or mobility usage. Although, even in America when GM’s engineers designed the Chevy Volt, they wanted to find a battery range that would allow many people to drive gas-free much of the time. From a survey by the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics they found that more than 75% of people commute only 40 miles a day or less.

    I think the phone industry is a good analogy; I believe that there will be many products on the market but also many services. I.e. I drive 70km round trip to work, I take the children to sport in the evenings, we often go for drives in the country during the weekends – what service can you offer me Mr Mobility Service? Perhaps I will be proposed an electric car during the week and an effortless exchange for a hybrid diesel for weekends. All I pay is a monthly charge plus my calls, oh sorry, my kilometers.