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PHOTO CAPTION: Converted Nissan Murano is battery-powered.

Solving the Electric Car Conundrum

There's the chicken-and-egg problem: who would buy an electric car if there's no place to charge it?

Published: 11-Dec-2008

St. Paul, Minn. -- The company calls itself Better Place.

With an initial investment of $200 million, Better Place has wrangled contracts with Israel, Denmark, Australia, Hawaii, and the San Francisco Bay Area, to build charging stations for electric cars.

The company's Jeff Miller was at the University of Minnesota today to explain how it'll work. The business model, he says, is the same as for cell phones. With your cell phone, you pay for minutes; with an electric car, you'd pay for miles.

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Ray Lane, managing partner of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has invested in Think, believes Think could eventually sell as many as 30,000 to 50,000 City cars a year.

The production electric vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model, unlike the technology 'mule' pictured above.

The 100-mile range electric car has been operating with Japanese power companies for the last two years.

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