Clean Revolution leader: Better Place
- 24 January 2012
This summarized case study is one of an initial set of eight success stories which illustrate the emerging global leadership of the Clean Revolution.
Better Place: The leading electric vehicle provider
This week, Better Place delivered its first commercial rollout with 100 electric cars in Israel, as part of its ground-breaking battery-swap scheme. In a statement, Moshe Kaplinsky, chief executive of Better Place Israel, said: "The first wave of electric cars is the ultimate proof that the change is here."
Better Place was founded with the goal of freeing cars from oil, which would simultaneously address the global challenges of rising energy costs, energy security and climate change.
Building on the mobile phone subscription model, the company aims to electrify personal transportation with a comprehensive solution for consumers, and is rolling out a network of electric vehicles (EVs), charging stations and battery switching stations in Israel, Australia and Denmark. There are also pilots taking place in Japan and North America, and a new partnership underway with China.
You can buy a Toyota Camry for about $20,000, and drive it up to 600 miles before refueling at a nearby gas station. Alternatively, you can buy the all-electric Nissan Leaf for about $35,000 (including its $11,000 battery), and drive it up to 100 miles before it needs recharging it at… well, you’re not sure where.
In short, the current transport system is made for gasoline vehicles. But while most EV players are waiting for the vehicle to adapt to the current system (by making batteries cheaper and with longer range), Better Place is adapting the system to the vehicle – making EVs work for consumers today.
To make EVs more affordable and convenient, Better Place takes out the most expensive part: the battery. It then includes the battery as part of a fixed-price subscription offered to the consumer. Drivers get a personal charge spot at home and/or work, access to a network of charging and switching stations (replacing a depleted battery in less than five minutes) and 24-hour consumer support and roadside assistance, for a fee equaling what consumers typically spend per month for gasoline.
In return for taking ownership of the battery and building an extensive battery charging and switching infrastructure, Better Place makes its profit based on the difference between the high cost per mile for gasoline and the low cost per mile for electricity, and the battery.
In a sense, Better Place is doing for vehicles what telecommunications firms do for mobile phones; develop the network, discount the hardware and charge for minutes - but in this case, miles.
Clean energy future for all
Better Place is set on tackling one of this century’s biggest challenges: moving the world to sustainable transportation.
The economic cost of oil dependence is significant; since 1970, total economic losses in the US (from lost GDP, dislocation losses and wealth transfers) exceeded $5 trillion. In addition, net imports of oil account for 40% and 150% of the US and EU trade deficits respectively.
National militaries are also forced to protect oil supply-lines and infrastructure around the world, and the annual cost to the US military of securing global oil supplies is estimated to be between $52 and $143 billion.
Transportation itself accounts for 23% of global carbon emissions. In most cases, depending on the energy mix used for electricity generation, EVs emit fewer greenhouse gases than the average conventional vehicle.
Going forward, as more renewable energy is brought online, the emissions profile of electric vehicles will only improve.
You can find out the secrets of Better Place's great success, hear electric vehicle doubts debunked, and learn how the company vision of the world's top selling cars being electric will be realized, in our Interview with Shai Agassi, Founder and CEO, Better Place.
Better Place's leading work is just part of The Clean Revolution. Your leadership will drive The Clean Revolution - and your leadership is needed now. We’re looking for business and government leaders who can either help support the campaign or provide us with compelling case studies. Contact us now, to help us deliver a better, smarter, more prosperous future for all.
Are you on Twitter? Then remember to use the #CleanRevolution hash tag to show its global leadership in action.