In the past week there has been a major announcement by Shai Aggassi of Better Place regarding the set up of a network of “charging spots” and “battery exchange stations” for power electric vehicles throughout Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne and set to roll out in 2011, with the first cars produced jointly with Renault and Nilsen to be rolled out in 2012.
The car refuelling posts will most likely work on a payment scheme similar to our current mobile phones plans where you choose a provider and a fee plan and then use that service anywhere it’s available up to the value of your plan.
The real question is, will there be enough interest to turn this into a commercial reality.
There are currently between 25 – 40 electric cars in some form of pre production (depending on who’s list you believe), but as yet we have no clear front runner car manufacturer.
The Tesla is definitely a crowd favourite and has some serious backing behind it, including $37 million from the founder of PayPal, and if you haven’t seen it before take a look at this video:
The debate is still raging over whether electric cars will be take over from the internal combustion engine, but my guess is that it is won’t and that in the short term, 5 -10 years, we are likely to see a hybrid car, much like the current Toyota Prius, take the reigns.
Firstly, the infrastructure required to make a complete change is still years away from being perfect, despite Better Place’s announcement.
Secondly we are still working with what we know and fuels we currently have – where’s the real innovation? and
Thirdly with many of these alternate fuels it seems that although they may lessen our reliance on oil, they still cause environmental issues and concerns in the manufacturing, sourcing and destruction processes.
Let’s think broader than just the vehicle and the fuel to why we need the vehicle in the first place.
When trying to solve this issue let’s also include tackling civic infrastructure (public transport, housing estates etc) doing this well will lessen our medium to long term need for private transport.
Let’s re examine why we travel and find alternate means to achieve the same ends (instead of driving to meetings meet by webcams or in virtual offices, instead of one distant city based office have home offices and decentralised shared work hubs spread around the suburbs).
Cars are a perfect example of where we need more haste less speed, let’s over respond to the underlying issues and innovate a solution that works long term to satsfy all of our needs.