The Future of the Electric Car

Shai Agassi, who's not quite the household name T. Boone Pickens is, has an even more radical plan to end the planet's oil addiction.
August 26, 2008, 8am PDT | rbregoff
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"But oil, in the end, supplanted volts on American highways because of one perennial problem: batteries. Car batteries, then and now, are heavy and expensive, don't last long, and take forever to recharge. In five minutes you can fill a car with enough gas to go 300 miles, but five minutes of charging at home gets you only about 8 miles in an electric car. Clever tricks, like adding "range extenders"-gas engines that kick in when a battery dies-end up making the cars too expensive.

Agassi dealt with the battery issue by simply swatting it away. Previous approaches relied on a traditional manufacturing formula: We make the cars, you buy them. Agassi reimagined the entire automotive ecosystem by proposing a new concept he called the Electric Recharge Grid Operator. It was an unorthodox mashup of the automotive and mobile phone industries. Instead of gas stations on every corner, the ERGO would blanket a country with a network of "smart" charge spots. Drivers could plug in anywhere, anytime, and would subscribe to a specific plan-unlimited miles, a maximum number of miles each month, or pay as you go-all for less than the equivalent cost for gas. They'd buy their car from the operator, who would offer steep discounts, perhaps even give the cars away. The profit would come from selling electricity-the minutes."

Thanks to robert bregoff

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Published on Monday, August 25, 2008 in Wired
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