“Project Better Place” An Interesting Debate

I was the first in the State to mention Project Better Place coming to Hawaii back on September 7th of last year.

I’ve thought about the project for awhile, and I think it might work on the other islands the way they have the stations planned now, but I just don’t see how they can be feasible with only four stations on the Big Island.


In this recently released youtube clip, Project Better Place CEO Shai Agassi talks about the Hawaii Project at  about the 7:00 minute mark.  Towards the end of the video, a managing editor at Forbes explains why this might not work.

Better Place CEO and founder Shai Agassi wants to change the automotive industry by switching gas stations with battery replacement and charging stations for the next generation of electric cars.

Although current plans include smaller areas like Hawaii, Israel, Denmark, and San Francisco, Better Place aims at nothing short of an industry-transforming revolution. Will it be possible?

In this extended interview (at end of clip), Shai Agassi discusses his companys plans and challenges. Bruce Upbin, a managing editor at Forbes Magazine, comments on Better Places challenges and why the network may not work in the U.S.


Things to think about:

1. Prices of Gas have fallen…

2. Building a network… is there enough stations

3. Capital… does Project Better Place have enough money?

One Response

  1. The cost issue is a valid one, but there is a certainty that energy prices will rise again. Gas doesn’t have to be $150 per barrel for alternate sources to be cost-competitive. Doug Teeple up in Waimea (www.eghia.com) says that even at the ridiculous rates HELCO charges, his plugin electric car costs less per mile than if it ran on gas.

    As to whether 4 stations on the BI are sufficient: they probably would be for the relatively few people (dozens to hundreds) who would be part of any pilot project. The points they have on that map are pretty silly and show they don’t really know our island — the “North” station would obviously go in Kamuela, not Hawi! And it would probably make much more sense to have two stations on the East side rather than one in Ka’u. That might make it impossible to circle the island in an electric vehicle, but would fill the needs of the residents better.

    Also, all-electric vehicles could presumably be recharged at home, so it’s not like you’d have to go to one of these stations every time.

    I’m still skeptical of this company, which came out of nowhere and promised the moon, but I think the general idea is rock-solid: if you live on an island, you can always be “in range” of a filling station.

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