Project Better Place has a new take on jumpstarting the electrification of transportation: they’ve raised $200 million (about enough to buy, what, three fuel cell vehicles?) to start building infrastructure for charging and battery exchange stations.
That’s just a down payment. If you play Internet Nancy Drew for a sec you will quickly find out that Israel Corp, a major investor, also has a stake in oil refineries, and 45 percent of Chery, the Chinese car company that keeps threatening to build electric cars. These guys are invested in the full value chain, and dollars to donuts they’re leveraging much more value from partner companies than the measly $200 million. We are talking about a $6-10 trillion industry, after all, which tends to focus the mind and get people working together.
Do yourself a favor and check out the video. The vision is a transportation system powered by wind and sun. And a software exec (CEO and founder Shai Aggassi comes from SAP) is exactly the right person for the job.
We don’t have an energy problem, we have an energy storage problem. When I listen to Agassi talk about developing software to manage the charging strategies of EV’s flexible and mobile loads in a way that enhances integration of intermittent resources like solar and wind into the grid, I get a little weak in the knees.
Combine that with REC’s announcement that it was building a 1.5 GW fully integrated solar manufacturing plant in Singapore, and the future seems much brighter indeed. Note that 1.5 GW was about the size of the entire world market in 2006.
The combination of cheap solar and millions of big batteries on the grid can mean only good things.