Rethinking the infrastructure for an electric car based system

reposted from 4/23/2009. They are starting installations now!


I stumbled then (2009) on this talk from Shai Agassi, a former SAP exec, on a new way to think about electric cars.

He makes a very good argument that one is today not asked to own an oil rig to get gas, so why should the same person using a battery powered electric car be paying for the electricity and the battery? Why if the service provided by “electricity stations” (as an analogy to a gas station) would be not only to recharge a battery but to swap it?

His point is making lots of sense, batteries are today standardized for electronics (AA, AAA, even lithium ones) so why not for cars. This way we would decouple -or horizontalize- the innovation on the car aspect (power efficiency, engine….) from the battery one. No one would expect a mobile phone maker to develop their own batteries, they just outsource this. I don’t see any intrinsic reason why electric car would be different.

It’s efficient, effective, scales and ensure redundancy in the system (many suppliers) and constant innovation.

A model like Shai’s would allow this and, from where I see this, would make ton of economic sense. Cars all use the same gasoline. This model is just a transposition of this paradigm in an electric car world.

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