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Electric Car Startup 'Better Place' Liquidating After $850 Million Investment

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the shutting-it-down dept.

Power 193

awaissoft writes "Better Place hoped to transform the energy industry with electric cars and battery switching stations. Better Place wanted to make the world a better place by replacing gas stations with battery switching stations that would remove the driving mileage limitations from electric cars and eventually rid the world of fossil-fuel burning vehicles. But after six years and burning through $850 million, the company is filing for liquidation in an Israeli court. As reported by the Associated Press, Better Place's Board of Directors issued a written statement Sunday announcing that the company was winding down."

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193 comments

Will Tesla buy them? (4, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43835037)

Since Elon has said that the Model S ( and presumably the Model X) is capable of conversion to battery swap, perhaps Tesla will try to get the Better Place switch station tech - despite the company's failure, they did have solid working tech as Tesla could benefit tremendously by not having to reinvent, er, the wheel.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835117)

Why would he bother? He has a successful company, why would he want to buy a company that burned through that much money with no noticeable product. Their business model was obviously flawed.

Battery swap is fraught with difficulties, to make it easy you lose capacity/safety, if you don't make it easy, it takes too long (a Tesla supercharger takes 1/2 hour). Also, the stations that you set up to swap the batteries have to have a lot of batteries on hand if your business is successful, this is a significant investment.

The model S and Model X use the same battery packs, and yes they are swappable, but from what I can see, they are designed to be swapped at end of life, not at end of current charge, they form an integral part of the vehicle. (Elon correct me if I am wrong.)

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835201)

Hello, you are wrong.

Regards,

--- Elon

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835707)

Will the real Elon Musk please stand up?

-E. Musk

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (4, Insightful)

xQx (5744) | about a year ago | (#43836139)

Agree that you wouldn't buy the company, but it would make a lot of sense for them to take or buy the idea.
I really think Better Place failed because they were unable to reach critical mass - not because they had a flawed product.

The issue for all battery powered cars is 1/2 an hour charge is an eternity. I sometimes travel 800kms a day in my gas powered car, there is no way I could use an expensive Tesla S to replace that yet. Despite what Elon says, I don't have 1/2 hour to waste every 400kms to sit at a high-powered charge station and drink coffee, and I can't see all my customers having high-powered charge stations out the front of their buildings for me to be able to charge the car while meeting with them. Furthermore, unless there are major advancements made in room-temperature superconducting, the losses involved in fast-charging are always greater than a trickle charge. If all you need to do is swap the batteries, the charge-time becomes far less important. (Still important when you do a volume of cars, because you need more batteries in reserve)

Look at the video of a Better Place battery swap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b0T5NUHyxs - It's just as fast and even easier than filling your car with petrol. Having these scattered around the country would eliminate the "range anxiety" that is plaguing Tesla. The key issue is that you need to have enough cars using the change-station to pay for the batteries that need to lie there in wait. The other exciting thing that better place had working was that by the fully automated nature of this station, autonomous taxies could drive themselves in, swap over, and drive away all without a driver.

Making the cost model work is actually dead easy. I'm not sure if you have Swap & Go BBQ gas bottles in America & Europe, but here in Australia it's entirely replaced the 'take your 9kg gas bottle to the service station and have it filled' model that used to be common. Basically you pay a fixed fee for each change over. If that doesn't work (financially) you charge an annual rental + a swapover fee.

Communal Batteries make sense. You essentially move from a 1+1 model for battery swap, to an n+1 model. It also amortizes the cost of replacing a battery over it's entire life, reducing 'bill shock' for electric car owners.

What Telsa, Nissan, and Ford & Holden could learn from Better Place is even if they keep their proprietary battery packs for each model car, if they can agree on a standard that allows the battery to be removed and replaced vertically from the bottom of the car by a machine accessible scissor lift, the electric car will have a better future.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (3, Informative)

catchblue22 (1004569) | about a year ago | (#43836251)

The issue for all battery powered cars is 1/2 an hour charge is an eternity. I sometimes travel 800kms a day in my gas powered car

Fair enough, but you are in the minority.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (2)

Spoke (6112) | about a year ago | (#43836779)

Exactly. For 800 km/day (500 miles), your typical gas car will need to be fueled anywhere from 1-2 times depending on the car (typical gas cars might go 200-450 miles between fillups). Typical fuel stop might take 15 minutes at best assuming you also need to stop, use the restroom, grab a drink/snack, etc. A Model S with 200 miles range between SuperChargers will also need to be filled 2 times - but you'll need about 90 minutes of charging, or about 60-75 minutes longer than a gas car.

A 500 mile trip, you may travel 70 mph while on the road, so lets say 7 hours of driving. The gas car might take about 7.5 hours including stops at best, a Tesla might take up to 8.5 hours.

Is that extra hour hour or so going to kill that occasional trip? Highly doubtful, but if it is, I suggest that a plug-in hybrid like the Chevy Volt might be a much better fit for that type of use.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (2)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43836545)

but it would make a lot of sense for them to take or buy the idea.

What's to take or buy? A removable battery isn't exactly a revolutionary idea and neither is having a supply of them on hand to facilitate on demand swapping. It's more like an obvious technical consideration for anyone designing and building electric vehicles and their associated infrastructure.

if they can agree on a standard that allows the battery to be removed and replaced vertically from the bottom of the car by a machine accessible scissor lift, the electric car will have a better future.

As it is we cannot even get European and American car makers to agree what side of the vehicle to place the gas cap on in our fossil fuel vehicles and you want them to standardize the location, size and method of battery replacement? I suppose we'll just have to wait until we can all get to that "Better Place", wherever that is.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (2)

careysub (976506) | about a year ago | (#43836419)

Why would he bother? He has a successful company, why would he want to buy a company that burned through that much money with no noticeable product."

Let's see: according TFA -
"...about 1,000 Better Place cars are on the roads ..." and
"Sunday’s announcement left many questions unanswered, especially what will happen to its cars and charging stations. Better Place has also installed a network of stations in Denmark and has operations in Australia, the Netherlands, China, Hawaii and Japan."
And according to Wikipedia: "By mid September 2012, there were 21 operational battery-swap stations open to the public in Israel".

That may not be excessively impressive, but 1000 cars in operation, 21 charging stations in Israel, and others in six other nations is not "no noticeable product."

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about a year ago | (#43835443)

What magical technology do you need to swap batteries?
People have been swapping AA's for decades just fine.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (2)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43835539)

I'm under the impression that car batteries are extremely heavy, and often put in very in accessible locations because they take up a lot of space in the vehicle. So It might be ok to swap the battery out once a year when it's up on a lift, but not really practical to swap it out every couple of weeks/days.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (1)

Vanderhoth (1582661) | about a year ago | (#43835555)

I'm sure most people will get the context, but I should have specified when I said car batteries I meant in the context of an electric car, not the standard batteries used in gas powered cars today.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (2)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43836589)

People have been swapping AA's for decades just fine.

Sure, but have you noticed how much extra space is required to accommodate the battery bay with springs and contact plates? Why do you suppose that Apple chose to use integrated batteries soldered directly onto circuit boards, hardly the model of accessibility? The answer of course is space. In the case of the iPhone they were trying to make the device thin and light enough to fit comfortably into your shirt pocket. In the case of a vehicle, the more space that's taken up by vehicle systems, including batteries of fuel tanks, the less space there is for passengers and cargo. It's a trade-off and you don't get swappable batteries without sacrificing either seating or cargo space.

standards are the issue, not space (3, Insightful)

spage (73271) | about a year ago | (#43837143)

EV batteries are big, but adding swap capability only adds minor additional space.. The Model S pack is swappable. The problem is standardization. Better Place burned through all that money for only one battery design that only one car adopted, and even then the Renault Fluence had to have its trunk extended to make the Z.E. version fit BP's QuickDrop pack. BP hoped that customers would demand swap capability so other car companies would adopt it, but it didn't happen, and car manufactures have instead adopted many different chemistries, layouts, placement within the car, air vs. water cooling...

EV batteries are built up from multiple slabs or sheets. Already if your battery breaks, you only replace the defective module. You could imagine swapping the individual modules for charged ones, but each still weighs around 40 pounds and has be reattached to high-voltage high-current wiring and the cooling system. It's an order of magnitude harder than prying out 8 D cells from your boombox, and again there's no "D cell" standard for EVs.

Maybe there could be a standard for a battery extender, a cage in the trunk where you can add several of these modules to your city EV for a long trip. That avoids the problem of swapping your $12,000 pristine battery for a clapped-out beater. But all the cost-time-weight-safety-standardization tradeoffs work against it. Skip the hassle and rent a long-range car for those trips, or use the other car that's already in the garage of most American households.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about a year ago | (#43837123)

Humans are very good at quickly getting objects in and out of awkward spaces but only if those objects are fairly light. Your AA batteries are no problem for even a small child to handle. The starter batteries for petrol powered cars are getting towards the limit of what one person can easily and safely handle.

Afaict an electric car battery is of the order of half a ton. Getting something that weight in and out quickly while also keeping it in a place that is sheilded from crashes and doesn't mess with the praciticality or aerodynamics of the car is a much trickier proposition than dealing with a few AAs.

Re:Will Tesla buy them? (1)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43836471)

Elon has said that the Model S ( and presumably the Model X) is capable of conversion to battery swap

Capable? Yes, it could probably be done. Will it be done? No. Elon is a smart man and he knows how to say the right things to the right audience to get what he wants. However, as a practical matter the Model S already has difficulty competing with fossil fuel powered vehicles on range and even then only by making the batteries fully integrated components molded into every bit of spare room in the vehicle frame. Any additional batteries, removable or not, would further reduce either cargo or interior seating. Musk has done a better job than Fisker and others, but what has he achieved? At $60,000+ (the actual price with options that a typical luxury car buyer would want is closer to $80,000) this still isn't a car for the everyman. In fact it's more like an alternative to the S class Mercedes for limousine liberals who want to appear green using our green (aka money). Tell me again why my tax dollars should be subsidizing Musk and Tesla?

Re: Will Tesla buy them? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836557)

Because if he succeedes then we are closer to having green cars for the masses. We cannot massify electric cars until the market is proven.

wrong (1)

spage (73271) | about a year ago | (#43837275)

Capable? Yes, it could probably be done. Will it be done? No. Elon is a smart man and he knows how to say the right things to the right audience to get what he wants.

More importantly, he's selling his second-generation made-in-USA car to thousands of buyers, and winning awards.

However, as a practical matter the Model S already has difficulty competing with fossil fuel powered vehicles on range and even then only by making the batteries fully integrated components molded into every bit of spare room in the vehicle frame.

The Model S chassis [teslamotors.com] is a thing of beauty. A compact high-power motor and reduction gearing, and a flat battery pack fills the frame because there's nothing else down there. No muffler, catalytic converter, oil pan, etc. Why not use the lot for batteries instead of taking away trunk space?

In fact it's more like an alternative to the S class Mercedes for limousine liberals...

Don't oversell your straw man. The $95,000 S Class is more expensive and quite a bit more luxurious.

... who want to appear green using our green (aka money). Tell me again why my tax dollars should be subsidizing Musk and Tesla?

Tesla just repaid its $465M loan under the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) Loan Program set up under the G.W. Bush administration; Ford and Nissan received billions under the same program. If you're referring to the $7500 tax credit, it lets buyers keep more of their money for the worthwhile goal of "ending America's addiction to foreign oil", as every Republican president since Nixon has intoned. Tell me again why my tax dollars should be subsidizing your home mortgage, or any other tax rebate?

Your sneering tone about "appearing green" ignores the genuine increase in efficiency from an electric drive. No doubt you'll bleat about coal powered cars, ignoring the increasing role of cleaner natural gas in USA's electricity generating mix, and that many buyers will install solar PV to reduce their carbon footprint further. Meanwhile a Mercedes E-Class (is everyone driving that a "limousine whatever" too?) is a lot slower and at around 25 mpg will consume 15 tons of gasoline over 120,000 miles. Plug in cars are definitely better for the environment.

Tesla swap vs. Better Place swap (1)

spage (73271) | about a year ago | (#43837031)

Since Elon has said that the Model S ( and presumably the Model X) is capable of conversion to battery swap

It's not automated, but yes, jack the car up at a dealer, detach the battery pack, attach a charged one. Tesla Motors has been vague on the details. Since owners own the car and its expensive warrantied battery pack, most likely a dealer will give you a loaner battery as a courtesy for a long trip, and you'll later return to pick up your original. Obsessive fans at Tesla Motors Club [teslamotorsclub.com] debate more elaborate swapping networks but as yet there's no evidence that Tesla will go for it. Musk has shown he'll do whatever it takes for his EVs to compete, but it seems Tesla is busy building out the Supercharger Network (relatively fast DC quick charge stations spread along major routes, unless you're a dumbass New York Times reporter).

perhaps Tesla will try to get the Better Place switch station tech - despite the company's failure, they did have solid working tech as Tesla could benefit tremendously by not having to reinvent, er, the wheel.

BP's intellectual property includes their outdated battery pack design (Tesla's flat sheet is better), the QuickDrop technology for attaching the battery (Tesla's is better), and automating the battery swap with robots. The last seems only worth a few million, unless evil patents are involved.

Re:Tesla swap vs. Better Place swap (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43837203)

From what I've read, Better Place put a lot of effort into their software and communications network, which was supposed to include vehicle-to-grid for both the cars and the swap stations.

I suppose that while Elon is making midrange to highend cars, his customers may prefer to own the batteries but as he moves towards more everyman autos, battery leasing may be an increasingly attractive option barring radical breakthroughs in battery tech, charging and cost.

not surprising (4, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43835047)

Without a significant existing electric car userbase, the only real way to make money on this would be to get a manufacturer to buy in. But the only manufacturer that seems willing to spend much money on any kind of quick-charge network is Tesla, and they chose an alternate solution [teslamotors.com] .

Re:not surprising (2)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43835103)

Elon tweeted this a couple weeks ago:

Elon Musk @elonmusk 9 May

There is a way for the Tesla Model S to be recharged throughout the country faster than you could fill a gas tank.

Can't say for certain that he's talking about battery swap and when it would be available but it seems the Model S is inherently capable.

Re:not surprising (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#43835121)

Maybe he was talking about the Apple-style model: buy a new car with pre-charged batteries! /duck

Re:not surprising (0)

CodeBuster (516420) | about a year ago | (#43836625)

Maybe he was talking about the Apple-style model: buy a new car with pre-charged batteries! /duck

All they would have to do is slap an Apple logo on it and there would be legions of idiots rushing to defend the idea of getting a new vehicle with pre-charged batteries every time your vehicle runs low on charge.

Re:not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835321)

Highways that charge the car as it drives!

Re:not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835951)

a truck with a diesel generator that extends an arm ala fighter refueling as I'm driving at
80 mph.

if I stay with the truck I can go for a really long way without stopping ...or I could drive a truck

Re:not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836833)

That is actually a viable idea, wireless charging repeaters could be built into or next to the roads.

Re:not surprising (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about a year ago | (#43835383)

I was going to say how making announcements like that through Twitter is silly because you don't have enough characters to just what this better way is, then I realised that from a marketing standpoint it's not a bug, it's a feature.

Tits ass and cocaine party! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835289)

Till it all runs out! They got a 'tax break' which is actually corprat welfare.

Their business model sucked.

Better Place implemented a business model wherein customers entered into subscriptions to purchase driving distance similar to the mobile telephone industry from which customers contract for minutes of airtime. The initial cost of an electric vehicle might also have been subsidized by the ongoing per-distance revenue contract just as mobile handset purchases are subsidized by per-minute mobile service contracts. Better Place's goal was to enable electric cars to sell for $5,000 less than the price of the average gasoline car sold in the United States, [20][21] or the impact of electric cars would be minimal. For example, the Prius hybrid had been sold for 13 years at a price of $4,000 more than other gasoline cars and had captured less than 2% of the world wide car market.

via Wikipee

Re:not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835643)

yes that that is/was their problem since it's an uphill battle to get a new EV car system designed around someone else's battery design. I thought it would have been smart to also sell the kits to EV enthusiasts at cost to help build up the market for the batteries. Things like that not only spread the EV love sort of speak but also spread the word, increase volume of required parts and get your brand out to all corners.

Trying to get the few car manufacturers there are and whom are doing or going to do EVs to use your pack a tough sell. And just look at the packaging and sizes of the existing EV and plug-in hybrids on the market today. They are all very different so getting a single package to map to different vehicle and/or electrical design is also very tough. I would also think there is lots of 'we do things better than anyone else' in many of these companies too.

Sorry to see them go and when I saw they were not supporting the enthusiast sector I had my doubts because of the tough buy in requirement.

Re:not surprising (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837149)

Actually, governments, many of which have very large totals of pool vehicles, could buy in to this. That would take care of the critical mass problem. Note that not EVERY government vehicle would have to change over, just the ones that are used to run around town i.e.the vast majority. Governments could also decide to build the swap stations as well. They could always sell them later once the idea takes off with fleet buyers and car share schemes and, probably last of all, individual owners.

The free market has spoken, kudos for listening (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835075)

instead of shoveling more taxpayer money down another failed green initiative.

Nice idea, wrong problem (4, Interesting)

crow (16139) | about a year ago | (#43835079)

So Better Place is liquidating while Tesla is turning a profit. This shows that they were focusing on the wrong problem. Instead of creating a new infrastructure specifically for electric cars (all of which would have to standardize on battery packs, limiting design and innovation in an emerging technology), Tesla simply made sure they could be efficient enough and pack enough batteries in for about 300 miles. Tesla also figured out relatively fast charging (slower than filling up with gas, but not horrible), and is putting charging stations in major highway corridors. If the cars become popular enough, we will eventually see charging stations all over the place.

I think people are a lot less nervous about finding an electrical outlet to charge from than they are about finding a battery swapping station.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (2)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43835157)

Shai Agassi has said for years that the Better Place swap stations were designed to accomodate multiple batteries.
And what is so terrible about standardizing on a few formats?
In a pure EV, there aren't many better places to put a heavy packs other than the floor.

Also, the Better Place plan was fundamentally about charging stations as well as swap. You couldn't buy the car without a charger installed at home and at work.
If EVs become as popular as some of us hope, there'll be a huge amount of both charging and swap stations one day, especially if we get larger vehicles running on batteries.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (5, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43835419)

Battery swapping technology has a number of issues;

Form; Most electric cars shoe horn batteries into the smallest space possible requiring them to have different shapes for different cars. Standardizing restricts the form of the vehicle as well as the form of the battery.Right now almost every vehicle has a different battery.

Cooling; To charge and run properly batteries must be cooled which further restricts the form of the battery and vehicle.

Structure; Currently batteries are within the structure of the vehicle for strength and protection purposes. If the battery had to be removable so would the surrounding structure. This adds weight and complexity to vehicles.

Certainty; When pulling up to a charging station is is certain that there is electricity to use. At a battery swap station it is quite possible to pull up and all the batteries of the desired type may be discharged. The swapped battery is an unknown quantity. How does one know that the battery has not been abused by someone else and won't fail in a few miles?

Self service; At a charging station it is simple to plug a car in and charge it. An swap station would require much more skilled operation. What happens if the battery jams due to mud or snow? Who controls the charging of the batteries? Sure much of this can be automated but automation costs a lot of money.

Duplication; High performance batteries are expensive. There would have to be multiple batteries in multiple places to support one vehicle. There would be tens of thousands of dollars in batteries sitting waiting to be used. Someone would have to pay for that.

EV batteries are much more complex than the batteries one puts in a flashlight.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43835497)

Actually, the real issue is that nobody will want to give up their good batteries for junk.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43835645)

As I stated;

The swapped battery is an unknown quantity. How does one know that the battery has not been abused by someone else and won't fail in a few miles?

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (3, Informative)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43836217)

Under the Better Place plan, you don't own the battery so if you can one that's not up to your expectations, swap it again.
I would assume the swap station can test a battery to see if it's suitable for use. Uninterruptible power supplies do this as a matter of course.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43836795)

so if you can one that's not up to your expectations, swap it again.

It is difficult to swap a battery in the middle of nowhere if it fails unexpectedly. The point is that the range on different batteries will effect driving. As batteries wear out they will have to be swapped more often and it will be to the station owners' advantage to use them as long as possible. The convenience of swapping batteries has not been shown to override the limitations.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835957)

You overlooked connector problems. Replacing the battery means disconnecting it and then connecting another one. The current is nowhere near flashlight values and dirt on the connectors can cause havoc.

Simply speaking dirt increases resistance and P = R * I*I. Increase R and P (heat generation in the dirt) increases, possibly to a level causing problems with melting metal or fire.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43836191)

I've heard Agassi address some of these.
Form: If it's a BEV or one with a range extender that only charges the battery but doesn't power the car, there's no transmission to worry about.
Also, you don't need to have an battery-swap version of every possible model; just a couple per automaker would be enough.
Cooling: I don't know how the Fluence ZE handled this but they did - and they were selling cars in Israel, a fairly hot country.

Duplication: Actually more like hundreds of thousands in batteries per swap station but a big part of the Better Place plan was a communications network and the ability to both charge from and feed back into the grid, Swap stations could potentially be used as for peak-shaving, load-following or voltage regulation.
Since many stations and batteries would be built in advance of significant sales, this would be a initial source of income ( or mitigation of losses ).

Self-service: The swap stations wash the underside of the car before removing the battery; you drive in as you would a car wash. Battery charging isn't that hard and this could be managed remotely, You could also have a pre-set where the batteries charge at some predetermined safe rate if the remote connection is lost and, in any case, the circuit breaker has been around a long time.
Since it was also part of the plan to have a snack bar or restaurant at swap stations, there would be staff onsite if necessary.

Certainty: The Better Place Fluence has / had Internet connectivity, a list of nearby swap stations and the ability to reserve a battery .

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | about a year ago | (#43836755)

Form: If it's a BEV or one with a range extender that only charges the battery but doesn't power the car, there's no transmission to worry about.

What I was getting at was that batteries are shaped to fit the car and not the other way around. Some cars have T shaped batteries. Other cars have rectangular batteries. I don't see where I mentioned transmissions.

Cooling: I don't know how the Fluence ZE handled this but they did - and they were selling cars in Israel, a fairly hot country.

Cooling is provided by a combination of of the car and the battery. Sure a car and battery can be designed together with proper cooling. Difficulties in designing the chassis can be compensated for be changes in the battery designThe issue comes in when the car has to conform to the cooling requirements of the battery. There is much less flexibility.

Duplication: Actually more like hundreds of thousands in batteries per swap station but a big part of the Better Place plan was a communications network and the ability to both charge from and feed back into the grid, Swap stations could potentially be used as for peak-shaving, load-following or voltage regulation.

So to get this off the ground would cost billions of dollars in batteries. Who will pay for that?

Since many stations and batteries would be built in advance of significant sales, this would be a initial source of income ( or mitigation of losses ).

A source of income for the battery manufacturers but not the car makers or swap station owners. Again, Who pays for all those batteries?

Certainty: The Better Place Fluence has / had Internet connectivity, a list of nearby swap stations and the ability to reserve a battery

There is still the possibility that there are no batteries available within the remaining range of one's battery and then we are back to waiting for a charge.

Take a look at it from the point of view of the owner of an electric car service station.
With quick charging
Initial costs
1. Buy/lease land
2. Build a small restaurant.
3. Buy and install 10 charging stations
Operating costs
1. Restaurant expenses
2. Power costs
3. Servicing 10 charging stations.

With battery swap
1. Buy/lease land
2. Build a small restaurant.
3. Buy and install 10 charging stations
4. Buy a number of batteries of each type
5. Buy and install automated swapping systems. Different batteries may require different swapping systems.
Operating costs
1. Restaurant expenses
2. Power costs
3. Servicing 10 charging stations.
4. Maritain swapping systems
5. Replace worn out batteries.
6. Dispose of worn out batteries

Which one do you think an investor would choose?

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43837175)

They did find a few investors who were willing to take the risk and these were people with lots of experience and deep pockets.
You don't have to spend billions to start but as I pointed out in another post, Better Place should have gone after the commercial fleets and taxis in big cities along with providing grid storage to utilities - that alone is worth serious money.

"Worn-out batteries"?? I guess you're unaware that when a battery pack is no longer suitable for use in an EV, it still has 70% of its capacity.
Those can be repurposed as uniterruptible power supplies & still very useful for grid storage. If you've every had to wrangle even a medium-sized UPS containing lead-acid batteries, you'd be very grateful for ones with Li-on.

It would be 10-20 years before you'd have signficant numbers of lithium batteries that could no longer be repurposed and they are fully recyclable.
Different swapping systems? How so? Agassi has said from the start that the Better Place system can handle different batteries.
I'm sure you could easily design a system that wouldn't work with their stations but it would be just as easy to make one that did.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Zaelath (2588189) | about a year ago | (#43836279)

Duplication; High performance batteries are expensive. There would have to be multiple batteries in multiple places to support one vehicle. There would be tens of thousands of dollars in batteries sitting waiting to be used. Someone would have to pay for that.

Mostly I agree, but I think you're almost exactly wrong on this point.

You need "charging time" x "vehicles per charging time" batteries, per station. There's still some duplication, and that point is still valid, but that's entirely the point of battery replacement stations; you pay some amount of money over and above the cost of charging the battery so that you can swap out the battery instead of waiting for the charge.

I think would almost entirely be reflected in not even buying the original battery; as you said, if you did why would you want to replace it with some old junk at the first charge.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837199)

A funny comment on a tech site. Shirley the technology exiists right now to know before I leave home in the morning exactly what batteries are available in what swap stations anywhere within a 300 km radius, with live updates as they are swapped in, charged, and swapped out? We're talking about the future, let's at least talk about the technology of the present. The sunk costs of a petrol station are pretty high: a swap station doesn't need huge tanks in the ground. As for car design, it seems to me that all car designs look pretty much the same these days. You might need different batteries for small, medium and large+SUV types, but really that's it.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835639)

And what is so terrible about standardizing on a few formats?

The formats suck, that's why. The biggest barrier to the electric car (and a lot of other stuff) is focused almost entirely on the batteries. This isn't just a matter of arguing about what shape to make the adapter, if it were then standardizing would make sense.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835177)

They were either fixing the wrong problem, or was too far ahead of the curve. In order to do business, people would have to have cars that can be battery swapped. There really isn't a major player sell battery swappable cars. How do they expect to turn a profit if they have no customers?

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Monoman (8745) | about a year ago | (#43835233)

Tesla's fast charging is OK but not great. If you have to stop for more than one fast charge on a trip then people are not going to like it. Assuming equal costs to the customer: If a battery swap can happen in roughly the same amount of time as a gasoline tank refill and have 100% driving range then swapping is better than quick charging.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835469)

It really sucks. It's fine for stopping at the mall, but other than that, it's really just shitty. I've got an electric truck; a bunch of deep cycle batteries, but it's really not useful, as 30 minutes is a long fraction of 100 miles, and even for 300 miles it's pretty stupid, compared to 5 minutes in and out, counting a red light on the freeway. (yes, mine cost an order of magnitude less than Elon Musk's "cars are for rich people who can afford gasoline anyway" toy)

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836009)

If a model S can do 300 miles at 60mph, then you only need to stop every 5 hours. Most people need to stop more often than that on a road trip. Even if its only 200 miles at 70mph, then you drive almost 3 hours before stopping. Plus they can put a Starbucks or McDonalds at the charging station to give people something to do (and spend money on) with that half hour required to recharge.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836065)

Even if its only 200 miles at 70mph, then you drive almost 3 hours before stopping. Plus they can put a Starbucks or McDonalds at the charging station to give people something to do

I think Americans are fat enough, without eating McDonalds every 3 hours.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (4, Interesting)

mrvan (973822) | about a year ago | (#43835319)

This is even more so for Israel, where the longest drive you can make is from the Golan heights all the way down to Eilat, which is just about 300 miles. The borders in the North are closed (Syria and Lebanon) and most Israeli have no intention whatsoever to drive to Jordan or Egypt, and the time to cross the border is at least two hours anyway so that is probably time enough to charge your car. As regards private transportation, Israel is practically an island with 99% of Israeli citizens only ever leaving the country by air.

So, Israel is the perfect testing ground for a charging-based electric car park, and battery swapping makes a lot less sense there.

Coupled with the strategic value of being less dependent on oil while not having relations with the biggest oil producers, and the fact that solar makes a lot of sense in the middle east, I hope that another company with a more sensible model will succeed.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43835331)

So Better Place is liquidating while Tesla is turning a profit. This shows that they were focusing on the wrong problem. Instead of creating a new infrastructure specifically for electric cars (all of which would have to standardize on battery packs, limiting design and innovation in an emerging technology), Tesla simply made sure they could be efficient enough and pack enough batteries in for about 300 miles. Tesla also figured out relatively fast charging (slower than filling up with gas, but not horrible), and is putting charging stations in major highway corridors. If the cars become popular enough, we will eventually see charging stations all over the place.

I think people are a lot less nervous about finding an electrical outlet to charge from than they are about finding a battery swapping station.

they were chargeable in other ways than swapping the battery packs.
but it's pretty expensive to keep a battery pack network.. you need 2-3x the battery packs. considering how expensive part of the car they are, it really is expensive.

on the other hand, they tried to sell these to normal commuters.. tesla being a luxury market item.

they were probably losing money on every car they sold/leased and at higher pricing it would have gone to just stupid pricing - considering that israel has expensive gas(no idea if that's actually true, say compared to finland) and it still was expensive to switch to electric..

Not quite. (1, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | about a year ago | (#43835527)

Tesla was focused on maximizing their non car selling income. If not for the tax credits, carbon credits, and so on, Tesla would not be in the position they are now. In other words, they riding on our backs and using politicians for their gain,.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Solandri (704621) | about a year ago | (#43835683)

So Better Place is liquidating while Tesla is turning a profit. This shows that they were focusing on the wrong problem. Instead of creating a new infrastructure specifically for electric cars (all of which would have to standardize on battery packs, limiting design and innovation in an emerging technology), Tesla simply made sure they could be efficient enough and pack enough batteries in for about 300 miles.

I wouldn't jump to that conclusion so quickly. There's an unknown fraction of the population which is ok with a car with a 300 mile range. Tesla has done ok so far because they haven't shipped enough units to saturate that fraction of the market.

If that fraction turns out to be 80%, then Tesla will do fine, and the big three will become the big four.

If that fraction turns out to be 8%, then Tesla's sales will hit a ceiling relatively quickly, and their EV will not be The EV which changes commuting. Something like what Better Place was trying may be the better long-term solution.

Rather than count how many cars Tesla sells, perhaps we should be looking at what fraction of their buyers own a Tesla as their only car. If that number is high, then the 80% case is more likely. If that number is low, then the 8% case is more likely.

Tesla also figured out relatively fast charging (slower than filling up with gas, but not horrible)

An ICE car can refuel in about 2-3 minutes, Call it 5 min once you add in time to move the car in position, pop open the fuel cap, swipe your credit card, etc. It can go about 350 miles between refueling stops. At 65 mph, you can cover 350 miles in 5.4 hours. So you're spending 5 / (5+(5.38*60)) = 1.5% of your time refueling. Or put another way, your ratio of driving time to refueling time is 64.8 on a long trip.

Tesla's supercharge stations give you about a half charge in 30 minutes. If you're going 65 mph, you can cover 150 miles in 2.3 hours. So if you're making a long trip you're going to spend .5 / (2.3+.5) = 17.9% of your time charging. Your ratio of driving time to recharge time is 4.6. Yeah you can mitigate that somewhat by coordinating meals and bathroom breaks with supercharge stops, but there are only so many meals in a day. I wouldn't call it "not horrible" quite yet. It's better than needing hours to recharge, but being better than nonviable does not automatically make it not horrible.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (3, Insightful)

Jeremi (14640) | about a year ago | (#43836007)

[An ICE car] can go about 350 miles between refueling stops.

All true, but it should be pointed out that driving 350 miles (in any car) sucks. It means you are sitting in a chair, unable to do anything but watch the road in front of you, for 5+ tedious hours.

Most people who need to go that far would prefer to take an airplane; and certainly anyone who can afford a Tesla can afford plane tickets.

So I see the 300 mile range limit as largely a non-issue (outside of perception/marketing, anyway).

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836099)

Tesla is NOT turning a profit. They're getting handouts. The positive cash-flow they posted is due to selling government-created "electric car credits" to car companies that ARE actually selling vehicles that people are willing to buy.

Re:Nice idea, wrong problem (2)

GoChickenFat (743372) | about a year ago | (#43836575)

Tesla's not turning a profit due to focusing on an electric car. According to this WSJ story http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324659404578499460139237952.html [wsj.com] it's due to selling pollution credits to other car makers. Add to that the tax credits offered by State and Federal income tax, a large loan from the US federal government and federal grants - well we're not talking about a business model that stands on just selling a better electric car idea.

So then ... (4, Informative)

LordKaT (619540) | about a year ago | (#43835097)

You mean the lack of customers is a hindrance to business? You mean to tell me that businesses don't exist to make the world a better place by trying to force a product into a niche that isn't exactly there yet?

Huh. I could have sworn this was going to work. I mean, there's absolutely no profit in fossil fuels, right?

It's not about being "old fashioned" either. It's about what works. Electric doesn't work for the vast majority of the world - yet. The business there right now is either niche ultra-high-end, or utility - both of which require a large up-front investment that you're only going to find in certain places. There's a growing niche for big-city transport, but that requires investments that many municipalities aren't willing to make just yet.

There are also a lot of problems that electric doesn't solve, like the big-haul transportation industry. Sure, you could offload that work to a national rail network, but then you run into the problem of overloaded rail traffic. In America, that's a bigger problem than you would actually imagine. (eg: it's becomming

Electric cars might be coming for the masses, but these guys were way ahead of the curve. A successful business launches right before the peak of the curve - and we're nowhere near there yet for electric cars.

So then, I'm not surprised. Sad that it didn't work out for them, but, really, did you expect anything else?

Re:So then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835207)

A successful business launches right before the peak of the curve - and we're nowhere near there yet for electric cars.

If you can do that, I suggest you write a book on how to do it and become the most successful author ever.

Re:So then ... (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | about a year ago | (#43835323)

Not yet - curve still peaking! Hold on...pretty soon now, just wait a little longer....

Re:So then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835349)

Not yet - curve still peaking! Hold on...pretty soon now, just wait a little longer....

You're a contributing spokesperson/pudit on CNBC, aren't you?

No, you were a little too specific.

Re:So then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835689)

everyone knows that there are no successful businesses before the "right before" part of the peak of the curve. so lots and lots of businesses must fail before we get close to the peak of the curve and where a business can be successful.

If this guy wrote a book on this it would have to launch before the peak of the curve for books about launching businesses before the peak of the curve. Otherwise he'd not be successful at with it.

Re:So then ... (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year ago | (#43835579)

> ultra-high-end

I'm not sure what you're driving but I'd consider $100k very much upper middle class vehicle.

Re:So then ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835797)

According to Wikipedia's deciles of US household incomes [wikipedia.org] , you need to look at the top 1.5% to see an income of >=$250,000 for a household. Purchasing a car that costs $100,000 on an income less than that -- keeping in mind we're talking a household here, and certainly households with that sort of income will almost certainly have two cars -- is (while certainly doable) a rather terrible use of money.

Re: So then ... (1)

Zeromous (668365) | about a year ago | (#43836125)

I fail to see how upper middle class is not top 1.5perc incomes.

The rich are like 0.05perc of population. well to do People in my middle class neighbourhood drive BMW and audis and porsches in same category as tesla. I make nowhere near that kind of money. (Si gle income) and drive a 40k car (a toyota). Not a stretch if my wife got a job we could afford a tesla and a buspass.

Ultra high end cars are in a class all their own.

Swap outs are the way to go (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835137)

Unless charge times significantly decrease and/or battery capacities significantly increase then battery swapping is the way to go. Tesla is in a good position to create a standard.

Re:Swap outs are the way to go (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43835829)

Except they make no sense for all the reasons another poster listed above, and the very obvious reason that no-one wants to drive off the dealership forecourt in a brand new electric car and then swap that $30,000 battery for an old clunker a hundred miles down the road.

Re:Swap outs are the way to go (1)

Monoman (8745) | about a year ago | (#43836449)

That's silly. If batteries become a commodity like fuel then that whole $30k mindset will be BS

Re:Swap outs are the way to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835967)

Mass transit is the way to go. But nobody likes sitting next to a stinky stranger on the bus anymore than they like stuffing a stinky used battery in their shiny electric car.

Israel will be a net energy exporter (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835195)

Israel's Offshore Gas Reserves:
http://jcpa.org/article/the-geopolitics-of-israels-offshore-gas-reserves/

About time (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43835229)

It was a horrible implementation of a mediocre idea. And the company was designed to waste as much money as possible.

Beat 22KwH in 3 minutes, 24 hour range 1172 miles. (3, Informative)

An dochasac (591582) | about a year ago | (#43835485)

We'll see when Telsa (or anyone else) can beat Better Place's distance record of 1172 miles in 24 hours. [greenprophet.com] When Telsa figures out another way to push 22KW into a car in 3 minutes without causing a huge explosion and fire, than we'll have a better idea. Until then, Better Place's technology was the most practical form of electric transport using existing technology. It was a good idea but like many good ideas, it needs to wait until society is ready for it and entrepreneurs know how to sell it. This is by no means the first time we've seen technological regression. The rechargeable battery electric car was invented by French physicist Gaston Planté in 1856. In 1878, a Methodist minister named John Wesley Carhart proved that a steam-powered car he named the “Spark” could travel long distances under its own power. But when it frightened a valuable horse belonging to industrialist J.I. Case (tractor company owner) to death, it was banished from the city [greenprophet.com] and the world would have to wait until 1886 when Karl Benz and then later Henry Ford would bring back an idea whose time had finally come.
Similar examples of technological regressions and reinventions can be found in the history of electric lighting. [greenprophet.com] Better Place had a better idea for electric car charging, and if we can learn anything from history– most good ideas eventually see the light of day.

Whoah whoah whoah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835293)

"liquidating"? I thought the word for that since 1800 was "shuttered"?

Are we there yet? (2)

westlake (615356) | about a year ago | (#43835307)

It's been said elsewhere that every electric car manufacturer has its own solution for the core technologies of batteries and charging.

There is only one car that you can re-charge at Better Place.

The wholly automated Better Place station costs around $500,000. That's not easy to recover when in all of Israel there were only about 700 of these cars on the roads.
     

Re:Are we there yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835677)

Yeah you try convincing a Jew to spend 714$ for a battery charger. I agree, that's gonna be hard. Maybe tell him every time he charges the battery, a Palestinian child dies?

Re:Are we there yet? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835821)

What? OK, every time he charges the battery, the Likud bulldozes a refugee camp. How about that? You know, for a people who saw the inside of gas chambers so much, they're pretty good on the other side of the valve too.

Misquoted (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835343)

What he actually said was "The investor money has gone to a better place.... our pockets. You're all fired and we're bankrupt. See ya, bitches."

Where did the $850,000,000 go? (2)

n2hightech (1170183) | about a year ago | (#43835655)

Thats a lot of dollars to burn. What did they spend it on? Thats way more then Tesla spent to get their car into production.

Re:Where did the $850,000,000 go? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835835)

Apparently they funded a car with Renault and some test service stations.
Not sure how much Renault ponied up, but French engineering time has never been cheap.

Re:Where did the $850,000,000 go? (2)

fermion (181285) | about a year ago | (#43836531)

Pets.com blew though $400 million in two years in todays dollars. And presumable they had no significant R&D costs, and no physical product, other than the sock puppet. It was all spent on snacks and advertising.

Re:Where did the $850,000,000 go? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836717)

Snacks and advertising, and... Aeron chairs.

Not here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835827)

Maybe this world wasn't meant to be a better place.

Proprietary Charging Outlets (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43835961)

"Better Place" was using proprietary charging outlets with smartcard-style protection, and pushed for a law prohibiting competitors from using their outlet infrastructure.
From the start it sounded like a nightmare case of vendor-lock-in. As an Israeli consumer - I say good riddance.

Open infrastructure, ability to charge the car from electrical outlet in your driveway, and laws permitting car conversion to electricity is the fertile ground needed to make EVs thrive.

To demonstrate the point let's compare e-bicycle/e-scooter market vs. e-mopeds. E-bike or e-scooter costs from 1K to 2.5k USD in Israel, and market is thriving.
Gasoline powered bikes and mopeds are extremely popular, especially in large cities. As a contrast due to laws, regulations and insane insurance costs - you have to search long and hard to find an e-moped on the street.

Re:Proprietary Charging Outlets (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837119)

What is the difference between an e-moped and an e-scooter?

Israel is a tiny nation always being threatened (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836203)

It is not a good idea to replace fossil fuel cars with electric cars in Israel. If Israel is under attack, there may not be any power from the power grid to charge the batteries. Besides, the energy storage capacity of an electric car is much less than that of a gasoline car. Here is a good site on monitoring the constant thread that Israel is facing:

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/

"Agassi"... (2)

storkus (179708) | about a year ago | (#43836469)

"...a former top executive at software maker SAP..."

I really think this says it all: it would be like having an IBM exec trying to run Google when it was a startup--you don't put curmugeons in charge of something this new (IMHO).

Re:"Agassi"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43836789)

Agassi had a really good return of serve in his prime, though.

The problem was the CEO. (3, Informative)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43836521)

The problem was the CEO, Shai Agassi. I heard him speak at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco once. He came across as a con man. He's good looking, a good speaker, and talks total bullshit. He was talking about expanding his company by a factor of 10 every year. Nobody does that in a business which requires substantial real-world infrastructure or a large number of employees. This was after five years in which the most his company had actually accomplished was a 3-taxi demo in Tokyo that only ran for three months.

Battery swapping was never a good idea to begin with. It was a bet against improved battery technology - a bet which required a huge infrastructure to make work at all. A full-scale battery swap system would require as many battery swap stations as gas stations. Each would be big, more like a car wash than a pump island.

The battery swap stations Better Place built in Israel are single-lane stations that require about five minutes for a battery swap. So they correspond to a one-pump gas station, but cost much more.

What I think Better Place / Shai Agassi got wrong (2)

haruchai (17472) | about a year ago | (#43836611)

While I think they were right to agressively build the infrastructure of charge points and switch stations and did a lot of great work with the swap stations, communications network and publicity, I think they focused far too much on the end-user market, even in Israel.

I'm going to make some assumptions which may be wrong but, in Agassi's place, I would have gone after the utilities more - build the switch stations fairly early on and use them to support energy generation, wind & solar farms, peak-shaving, whatever, for a price.
It's hard to say if it would have been profitable but it would have been bringing in some cash on a regular basis and might have alleviated nervousness in the investors.
The next failing was having only one (battery switch) vehicle and that being a passenger car - a light truck and / or delivery van ( like Brightsource's effort ) should also have been added which brings us to failure #3 - not chasing company fleets and taxis.

There are lots of crowded big cities with crappy air and people and goods on the move. Delivery vans may run all day but most don't go very far from where they park, much like most taxis.
If the effort had been focused on a handful of large cities with the intent of replacing 5% of their ICE taxis and delivery vans, it would have been money better spent and the company might still be afloat.

Look at the grand picture (2)

Diddlbiker (1022703) | about a year ago | (#43837131)

Technology, as much as we think when it's disruptive and ground breaking is rarely ever revolutionary. It's not like everyone started to use Windows instead of DOS, or that in one fell swoop the mobile market switched from dumb phones to smart phones overnight.

In that sense, Better Place seemed indeed to have focused on the wrong problem. Yes, electric charging stations are far and in between. Right now. But unlike gas pumps, practically every residential unit and business location can have one. So, for now, your Tesla has an effective drive radius of, what, 150 miles? That's good enough for most daily commutes. Maybe not if you're a salesman, but I think Tesla has envisioned this. They're not catering for the entire car market; after all, the car is not really a good deal for Joe Average who has to live on $50,000 and bring two kids to college on that either.
There is the uncertainty of electric cars becoming a success, but given the development of fuel prices and M&R that is much higher with gasoline engines (all those moving parts) it surely is attractive. So let's assume Tesla sells well. What will happen? The $100,000 price point will ensure that certain business will scramble to get charge stations. Four and five star hotels and restaurants for instance. Where will Mr. Executive stay overnight? Why, where he can charge his Tesla, of course!
Movie theaters, malls... any place where it's likely you're going to stay for a prolonged time will offer charging. Once the market of charging station installing businesses has risen, why not coffee and fast food? One thing that everyone seems to forget in the discussion—you don't need to charge the battery all the way up in most cases. You need to make it home—or at worst to the next charging station. That can bring down the charging time needed considerable. If as a business it will lure in five or ten customers every afternoon the decision to get a charging station might be an easy one.
Better Place is opposite: the process seems cumbersome, and as shown in the video more akin to going through a carwash than getting a tank full of gas. Here's why I don't go through the car wash on a daily basis: it takes too much time and I can't do another thing. On the other hand, getting a short charge-up for the batteries while getting breakfast, or stopping for a drink on the way home—perfectly acceptable to me.
For the gentleman who drives 800 miles per day: if you make ten stops, you only have to "charge 80 miles" on each stop on average. And if you only make three stops, I'm sure that those are not five minute ones. Once charging stations are everywhere, doing 800 miles visiting customers shouldn't be a problem anymore.

What about the Apocalypse? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43837141)

In the 'New World', I can syphon gas from derelict cars I come across...how do I survive the apocalypse with an electric car? It ain't going to be easy...

I need my gas guzzling SuV to run down those zombies, anything else, and I'm shit outta luck... :)

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