Energychallenge’s Weblog

Israeli Shai Agassi May Have the Right Approach for Electric Cars

And with oil out of the picture, transportation is transformed into a sustainable service we can all subscribe to.

And that’s why this model works. It’s a path forward for everybody.

● Drivers’ daily budgets are no longer at the mercy of rising fuel prices, and the affordability of the Better Place network allows more people to own cars and expand their horizons.

● Auto makers don’t just adapt to the oil crisis—they evolve beyond it and thrive in a new era of sustainable transportation.

● Energy companies surge into new markets, following a path to faster and more affordable growth for renewable energy.

● National governments breathe new life into their economies and ecologies, achieving profitable compliance with global environmental standards.

● Most importantly, climate recovery accelerates as Better Place shows companies, countries and everyday people around the world how to align environmental and economic interests.

● Renault-Nissan is already developing the first line of battery-powered electric cars for Better Place, and other auto makers are soon to follow.

● In January 2008, Israel became the first nation in the world to declare a plan for oil independence by 2020. Partnering with Better Place and Renault-Nissan, Israel has committed to widespread deployment of an electric recharge grid to power electric vehicles by 2011. Renewable energy will be supplied through Israel’s growing solar power sector.

● In March 2008, Denmark demonstrated its continued global leadership in environmental policy by committing to an electric recharge grid of its own. DONG (Danish Oil & Natural Gas) Energy company has partnered with Better Place and Renault-Nissan to power electric vehicles with un-stored electricity from wind turbines.

Additional information about Shai Agassi and Better Place:

Why T. Boone Pickens should take a close look at Better Place’s electric car solution

T. Boone Pickens is right to get behind wind power for generating electricity. His plan to divert natural gas from being a fuel to generate electricity to becoming a fuel for powering vehicles is dubious. In countries like the U.S. cars need to be multi-purpose, used for both local and long distance trips. This requires a common infrastructure across the country for fueling and maintaining/repairing cars.

Natural gas will never become the only fuel, or a major fuel for powering cars across the U.S. We would need to have multiple types of cars powered by different types of fuel and this will not likely be practical. Because of fueling, maintenance, sales and other infrastructure issues, most countries, including the U.S. will very likely standardize on cars fueled by one or two energy sources, and electricity is very likely to become one of the major sources for powering cars, or the only source. Natural gas should be used, at best, to power buses and trucks that are used locally within metropolitan areas, where the infrastructure for fueling and maintaining these vehicles can be easily developed and sustained. Beyond that, continue to use natural gas to generate electricity.

It will be particularly important for China and India to focus on electricity as a source for powering their cars. As more and more people in China and India want to buy and are able to afford cars, there will be a major increase in the need for fuel to power the cars. Gasoline will be one of the worst possible choices. There isn’t enough oil in the world to support large numbers of gasoline powered cars in these countries. Worldwide prices for gasoline will escalate to levels we can’t even imagine. The level of pollution will rise well beyond today’s already dangerous levels in cities like Beijing and Shanghai, and global warming escalate. The solution for powering cars in China and India must include some form(s) of renewable energy, and using electricity generated by renewable energy sources may be the best solution from a practical and economic perspective.

I would recommend that T. Boone Pickens revise his energy plan to continue using natural gas for generating electricity, rather than using natural gas for powering cars.    


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