$200 Million for Electric Cars? Businessweek

28 Мар 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи $200 Million for Electric Cars? Businessweek отключены
Chery Electric Cars

$200 Million for Electric Cars?

industry hotshot Shai has a well-funded plan to shake up the industry with a new approach to the car

In one of the largest-ever initial fundings for a a company led by former SAP (SAP) Shai Agassi has raised million to fund a plan to up the auto industry. The new project is a professional departure for the 39-year-old who launched two small software in Israel before he joined His goal is nothing short of to jump-start mass adoption of vehicles by introducing a radically scheme for selling the cars and their batteries.

The company’s is Better Place, a sign of hopes for its impact on the world. It has $100 million from Corp. (ILCO), a large industrial holding company, and amounts from Silicon venture capital firm Venture Partners, a large New investment bank that immediately identified, and angel including Edgar Bronfman Sr.

A Business Model with Big

The project attracted some of its not just for the potential financial but because they see it as a catalyst for shifts in transportation and energy. We on transformational projects. This with our notion of what to be done to effect change, Alan Salzman, chief of VantagePoint, which has made a of investments in green ventures, Silicon Valley’s Tesla an electric car company.

Agassi’s plans on operating much a mobile-phone service provider. It to sell or lease electric to consumers in packages that monthly service fees. It also operate networks of locations and service stations replace batteries for people who are on the

The whole system, called a grid, will be coordinated by software developed by Agassi’s

Agassi hopes to pilot the in a few countries next year and mass deployments in 2010. He he’s close to signed with several car companies and but won’t reveal their Yet Agassi is anything but shy about his for electric cars.

If what I’m thinking is this will be the largest in the history of capitalism.

An ‘Inevitable’

Agassi and his allies expect a lot of from the powers that be in the and energy industries. A smattering of and industry observers who had been ahead of the company’s formal scheduled for Oct. 29, were intrigued and skeptical.

When I heard about it, I thought it was another crazy idea. It far-fetched, says Stephen a managing director at private firm Centerbridge Partners who was an analyst on Wall Street for 20 Then I sat down and listened, and it might make sense.

Girsky cautions that the old of doing things will be to dislodge: Change doesn’t quickly in the auto sector, he

While Agassi’s backers that a lot of things have to go for this business to take they’re totally sold on the It makes so much sense the environmental point of view as as the business point of view, Idan Ofer, chairman of Corp. and board chairman for new company.


Ofer first learned of the from Agassi in a June Israel Corp. is a major in oil refineries, ocean tankers, and but Ofer says he’s not about the seeming paradox of an investment in technology that slacken demand for gasoline. If I do it, somebody else will, he

What’s the point of fighting that’s inevitable?

Chery Electric Cars

Interest in vehicles is tremendous right largely because of the success of the Prius hybrid and oil prices have climbed above $90 a So far, Toyota Motor and General Motors (GM) are gasoline-electric hybrids and playing electric cars, while (RENA) and Nissan Motor tilt toward all-electric

A Plugged-In Network

One of the key differences more traditional schemes and is that he separates the battery the vehicle. By using lithium-ion batteries that can be lifted out of a and replaced, he extends the range of the beyond the 100 miles that can now go on a single electrical charge. He eliminates the time it usually to recharge batteries.

The plan is to set up stations that will out and replace the spent batteries in the time required to fill a car’s tank with The company’s wireless network tell drivers where can get their batteries replaced they’re on the road. Stephan who heads up VantagePoint’s green says one of the advantages of this is that it turns vehicles and batteries into a massive system for energy, solving one of the facing renewable-energy advocates.

Agassi nor his investors would the status of negotiations with countries, but they say small with concentrated populations are the places for this business to find acceptance. In locations those—say, in Israel or Singapore, or in metropolitan areas within countries—the concentration of drivers and the about pollution make it that Agassi could the scale of usage and build a of service providers large to make the business work London, for instance, has exempted vehicles from paying congestion fees and also free electrical charging in lots.

Electric Ecosystem

One of the things in favor is his deep knowledge of the industry. He was one of the technology visionaries at SAP and win wide adoption of an important new in software: the creation of reusable that can be used by a whole to rapidly build complex new programs for corporations or governments. Now proposing a networking system would be made of the same building blocks and would tie in companies.

He’s taking has already happened in the software and creating a smart network and a business ecosystem, says Genovese, a tech strategy at market researcher Gartner

Agassi also stands to from the fact that a lot of and investors are exploring different of electric transportation. Indeed, his own provide him with connections to a of potential strategic partners: has invested in Tesla Motors 7/30/07) and BrightSource Energy, a solar energy provider, and Corp. has a stake in Chinese Chery Automobile. These synergies are among the attractions for as well.

It’s not a build-it-all-yourself says VantagePoint’s Salzman.

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