Electric Car Network Down Under
The Australian auto industry is set for an eco-overhaul, with Shai Agassi planning to launch his sustainable electric car network down under. Better Place works under 3 ventures: The introduction of charging zones for short distance drivers in the metro area; battery switching stations for long journeys; and software aids to automate the service.
With plans already underway in Denmark and Israel, Agassi has recently partnered with AGL Energy Ltd. and financial advisor Macquarie Capital Group to raise AUD$1 billion for Australia’s own electric car network. All going well, the Better Place should be up and running in Australia by 2012.
Although electric cars are emission free, the idea has met criticism, with some arguing the tiny size of the vehicles won’t suit the greater public or commercial vehicles. Battery life is also an issue, with drivers stopping to recharge every 80 minutes.
On Better Place’s Australian venture, the Victorian Premier John Brumby said,
The Victorian Government supports any initiative that will have positive outcomes in reducing emissions in the transport sector and welcomes this innovative approach to help make broad adoption of EVs in Australia possible.
Agassi defended his venture, stating:
We are investing in Australia’s economy and adding jobs while helping the country take a generational leap forward toward oil independence. With our commitment to build infrastructure and the Federal Government’s $500 million Green Car Innovation Fund, there is a compelling case for automobile manufacturers to jump in and build clean, safe, affordable electric cars for Australasia and Southeast Asia.