Project Better Place Looks to Bring Electric Cars to Portugal
Electric Cars and Cell PhonesProject Better Place, the initiative founded by entrepreneur Shai Agassi to bring electric cars and charging infrastructure to countries around the world, has already partnered with several countries, including Israel and Denmark. The idea is to make electric cars sell like cell phones, and the plan works as follows: "purchasers get subsidized hardware — the car — and pay a monthly fee for expected mileage, like minutes on a cellphone plan, eliminating concerns about the fluctuating price of gasoline." Renault and Nissan are working on developing the electric cars, and Agassi's firm is developing the batteries and infrastructure.
Drawing Attention, and Skepticism Apparently Project Better Place is getting the attention of other countries, because the Portuguese government has agreed to "conduct a study to determine what's needed to make electric vehicles attractive to consumers in Portugal. The government will also study the infrastructure and organizations needed to create a countrywide network of charging stations. It will also determine the most effective ways to raise awareness of electric cars." Of course, we've also reported on some of the problems with Agassi's plan, going so far as to call it "Green Smoke and Mirrors." Agassi has made some bold claims--100,000 electric cars in Israel by 2010, for instance--so it'll be interesting to see what transpires. If that isn't enough, 2010 is also the year GM has promised the vaunted Chevy Volt will make its debut, and John McCain has called for a 300 million dollar government sponsored prize for better battery technology. Meanwhile, Al Gore made a bold speech yesterday calling for 100% renewable power for the U.S. within a decade, which, if realized, would allay concerns that electric cars would merely transfer pollution from the tailpipe to the smokestack.
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