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Better Place - Accelerating the Transition to Sustainable Transportation
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Better Place - Accelerating the Transition to Sustainable Transportation

Sustainable transportation for the mass market is just around the corner. Electric vehicles (EVs) present the opportunity for energy independence, environmental restoration, and new sources of economic growth.

Better Place, the leading electric vehicle services provider, is accelerating the global transition to sustainable transportation. Better Place is building the infrastructure and intelligent network to deliver a range of services to drivers, enable widespread adoption of electric vehicles, and optimize energy use.

The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution. Based in California and privately held, Better Place has operating companies in Israel, Denmark, and Australia.

Although we have consumed only 30% of the Earth’s proven reserves, much of the remaining supply is locked away in unconventional sources like tar sands and deep water, making it far more expensive to extract. As we spend more on production and approach what has been termed “peak oil”, further pressure is expected from new demand from industrializing countries such as China and India.

Renewable energy is the most attractive alternative moving forward. However, even though the Earth’s endowment of sun, wind, wave, river and geothermal resources are more than enough to meet our energy needs, only 2% of global electricity (and an even lower percentage of transportation energy) is currently generated by non-hydro renewable sources.

The recent growth in investment in renewable energy is encouraging. A study sponsored by the United Nations found that the 2007 global investment in renewable energy totaled $148.4 billion USD, up 60% from 2006. Much of this increase has come from solar energy and wind power, whose prices have declined steeply over the past few years. Yet, without technological breakthroughs, further cost reductions are dependent on volume scaling and the ability to capture off-peak generation.

The economics of renewables create an extraordinary opportunity for transportation. But the economics of transportation also create an extraordinary opportunity for renewables. A transition from our current system – in which 98% of transportation is powered by oil products – to an electric transportation system based on renewables, would benefit both renewable energy and transportation.

First, an electric vehicle system can take advantage of underutilized electricity, reducing oil consumption and providing resources for renewable development. U.S. government research shows that 73% of its domestic light vehicles could be replaced by EVs without requiring any additional capacity when the EV system is complemented with a “smart grid” that optimally manages the flow of available electricity. Second, EVs can alleviate the problems of intermittency, unpredictability and off-peak generation that have hindered the progress of renewable energy in the past. Third, because EVs offer energy efficiency up to three times greater than that of gasoline-powered vehicles, EVs reduce the overall burden on energy resources.


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