Better Place Places Historic Order
An obviously nervous Shai Agassi took the stage at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show this morning to announce the largest single order for electric cars in history and the largest mass order for any car since the Ford Model T. Working with his automaker partner Renault, who itself introduced four battery electric vehicles a few minutes earlier, Better Place has ordered 100,000 electric cars that will begin to be deployed first in Israel and Denmark starting in 2011. To be followed by Australia and other countries expected to sign onto Better Place's innovative program modeled after the celullar telephone service and not the traditional buy or lease concept.
In addition, the company has placed a similarly-sized order with Flextronics for 100,000 electric charging stations, which will begin to be installed, again first in Israel and Denmark, in 2010. By 2011, he anticipates the Better Place network, which includes smart grid charging and other intelligent driving technologies, will be in place and serving a growing list of customers who don't buy the cars, but pay on a subscription service for the miles they drive.
Agassi is convinced that in the countries where Better Place is deployed, 50% of all new cars put into service will be electric by 2020, rather than the far more conservative projections of 10 percent by the same year. He tells the assembled media that the Frankfurt auto show will be remembered as the tipping point in the resurrection of the electric car, and that by the next show in 2011, real customers will be driving real cars using Better Place's network.
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