Tesla Birth Watch 6: "If You Think of Tesla as the IPhone, We're AT&T"

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
tesla birth watch 6 if you think of tesla as the iphone we re at t

After failing to ascend to the top slot at software maker SAP, forty-year-old Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi has decided to populate the world with electric car recharging stations. The International Herald Tribune reports Agassi's newly-founded " Project Better Place's" plans to "extend the existing electric-power grids with a wide network of intelligent recharging stations in urban areas." Sticking to the cellular phone biz model, Agassi wants to sell motorists juice on a subscription basis, and lease and/or finance the vehicles to end users (that's motorists to you and me). And here's the big difference between your silly ideas and his: the software maven has raised $200m to fund his ambitions. Investors include Israel Corp. (a transportation and technology holding company), Vantage Point Venture Partners (Tesla's backers) and private investors such as booze billionaire Edgar Bronfman Sr. and former World Bank head James Wolfensohn (uh-oh). As for the problem of waiting for a recharge, Agassi envisions a smaller number of "car wash style" automated battery-swapping stations. Meanwhile, it's worth noting that Tesla has yet to deliver a single electric roadster to a customer after multiple production delays, while iPhone has delivered over 1.4m units since its scheduled launch.

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  • Dean Dean on Oct 29, 2007

    There won't be anything special about the electricity, but you will require a special plug, probably 220V (or more for truly rapid charging), and a battery charger smart enough to shut off the juice when the LIon battery is about to spontaneously combust. You won't be able to just string a 50' extension cord to the nearest wall outlet. I don't know if this venture will succeed, but at least with enough $$ behind him he might be able to leverage the car companies into standardizing on a plug and charge method.

  • Jthorner Jthorner on Oct 29, 2007

    The chances of coming up with a standardized battery pack are just about zero. You can't even find a standard battery pack for cell phones, laptops or power tools. And, this is just one of the unsolvable problems with this pipe dream. $200M down the drain.

  • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Oct 29, 2007

    But we do have standards for computer cables, bluetooth and stereo interconnects. Is it that those industries know something the car/truck folks don't? BMW Chrysler and GM are working on a hybrid model for those companies' cars.... the auto folks know how to collaborate. Question is, would they do it if this guy said so.

  • John John on Oct 29, 2007

    I was thinking more about size and shape rather than connectors. To get the maximum range, this is going to be a battle of cramming the most battery volume into wherever it will fit. Height, width, and length variables.