Energy Price

Securing Oil Independence through Electric Cars at Scale: Lessons from Israel

With gasoline prices edging northward of $4 dollars in many states and some analysts predicting $5 per gallon gas by Memorial Day, gasoline prices are on everyone's mind.  Whether due to political unrest now roiling the Middle East, the revival of demand in the global economy or speculation about supply disruptions, 2011 is promising to be a rough one for consumers.  Yet paradoxically, it is shaping up to be another bonanza for oil exporters.  It may be OPEC's first trillion dollar year. 

Unfortunately, an oil bonanza is no more likely to bring stability to the Middle East this time than in years past due to the corrosive influence that oil revenues have had on democracy.  And for consuming nations like the US, it will come at a high cost.  While the answer is clearly to shake the oil addiction, acheiving oil independence has been an unrealized dream since President Nixon first proposed it decades ago.

Now, however, for the first time, there are signs that oil independence and true energy security may be achievable.  One nation Israel, is taking steps now that may enable it to shake the oil addiction.  A company playing the leading role in the transition is Better Place, a Palo Alto-based startup launched by Shai Agassi.  Tomorrow, NDN will host a breakfast in New York City with Michael Granoff, head of oil independence policies for Better Place who has been deeply involved in the company from the outset who will discuss Better Place's role in Israel's historic effort to end oil dependence.

If you have ever driven an electric car--and that includes a hybrid or even a golf cart---you have probably noticed electric drive is quieter than gas, has higher torque, meaning you accelerate faster. And it is clean: mechanics who work on electric engines do not need to wear gloves.  Add to that the fact that electricity is far cheaper than gas and better for the environment.  The disadvantages have traditionally been range compared to a gasoline car, time to charge and up front cost.  The newest batteries, however, have solved the range problem. 

That leaves charge time and up front price and Better Place has developed a unique business model, analagous to that for cell phones, that addresses these challenges.  In turn, the Israeli government has enacted important policies to speed the transition to emission free cars.  All told, Better Place's is an intriguing business model and story with the potential to revolutiionize transportation not only in Israel, Denmark and Australia where trials will soon begin, but throughout the world.

I hope you can join us for this special event with Michael Granoff, a leader in electric transportation and energy security, the second in our series of New York Clean Energy forums. 

"Securing Oil Independence through Electric Cars at Scale: Lessons from Israel" with Michael Granoff, head of oil independence policies for Better Place.

The event will be on Tuesday, April 12, at 8:30am at the Harvard Club, 35 W 44th Street in the
Mahogany Room.  RSVP here.

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