Shai Agassi's Battery Cartridge Service Stations





Better Place delivers the network and services that make an electric car affordable to buy, easy to use, and amazing to own. Electric car drivers will have access to a network of charge spots, battery switch stations and systems that optimize the driving experience and minimize environmental impact and cost.

In order for EVs to provide a "no compromise" solution, they need to deliver the same freedom to go anywhere that drivers of internal combustion engine cars enjoy today.

Long battery recharge times are a matter of physics. Even as batteries and charging infrastructure improve, using EVs for long journeys will require a way to quickly and reliably extend the range provided by a battery. Better Place provides this solution via a network of battery switch stations that use an ingenious robotic system to switch new batteries for depleted ones, cool and charge the batteries in inventory, and manage the complex logistics to ensure that each EV gets a fully-charged battery each time the vehicle arrives at a station.

Better Place is working with automakers to ensure that EVs and battery switch stations are compatible. EVs are giving automakers new freedom for innovative designs since the engine, exhaust and complex gearing systems are replaced by simple gearboxes, electric motors and solid state batteries. Flat or ‘pancake’ batteries under the floor of a car allow the cars to have a lower center of gravity, improving handling and increasing interior packaging flexibility. In addition to the performance benefits, an easily accessible location simplifies manufacturing and will reduce maintenance costs.

At Better Place battery switch stations, drivers enter a lane and the station takes over from there. The car proceeds along a conveyor while the automated switch platform below the vehicle aligns under the battery, washes the underbody, initiates the battery release process and lowers the battery from the vehicle. The depleted battery is placed onto a storage rack for charging, monitoring and preparation for the another vehicle. A fully-charged battery is then lifted into the waiting car. The switch process takes less time than a stop at the gas station and the driver and passengers may remain in the car throughout.



Shai Agassi was a computer programmer who loved EVs



Published: February 8, 2009


DETROIT — Years ago, when Shai Agassi started promoting his idea of service stations to recharge electric cars, the automotive world barely took notice.


At the time, gas was cheap, big pickups and S.U.V.’s ruled American roads, and alternative-fuel vehicles seemed destined to remain a tiny niche for green-minded consumers and technophiles.

But now nearly every major auto company in the world has committed to building electric cars, and President Obama has made reducing oil consumption a centerpiece of his energy policy.

The timing could not be better for Mr. Agassi, a former software executive who is drawing upon his Silicon Valley experience as he pursues his vision of building networks of battery-exchange stations in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia to increase the driving range of electric cars.

“There is something meaningful that can be done in the next 15 years with electric vehicles,” Mr. Agassi said in a recent interview.


“It’s about what are you going to do to make the world a better place by 2020?” he added, providing the context for the name of his company, Better Place. In the last few months, Mr. Agassi, who is 40 and was born in Israel, has become an influential player in the global push toward electric cars.

In one recent 10-day stretch, he announced a deal for new switching stations in Canada, closed on a financing agreement in Denmark, then attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where he was booked solid with interviews for cable news shows.


Mr. Agassi’s theory is that the key to persuading more consumers to buy all-electric cars — rather than gas-electric hybrids like a Prius that still create tailpipe emissions — is to build a network of stations that can replace drained batteries with fresh ones.


He believes that will ease drivers’ concerns that they will be limited to trips close to home, where they can recharge their cars at night.


Better Place is just beginning to build its first prototype battery-changing stations in countries like Israel, Denmark and Japan. It hopes to be a critical link in the evolution of the electric-car market. Mr. Agassi said.:-


“The battery is a consumable part of the car, just like gasoline,”  “Cars in the 1950s only went about 100 miles on a tank of gas, and that problem was solved by installing an infrastructure of gas stations.


“I start with the question, how do you run a country without oil?”  “To get there, you need the number of electric cars coming into the market to exceed the number of gasoline vehicles.”


Mr. Agassi acknowledges that there is much work to do to perfect the mechanics of switching a vehicle battery in a few minutes during a roadside stop.


The initial Better Place stations are intended for the first electric cars under development by the Renault-Nissan alliance. But Mr. Agassi expects most batteries to become standard in size and located in the same general area under cars. His firm is also working with battery makers on adapting the process for different models.


His concept has already won over Shimon Peres, a former prime minister of Israel, and Carlos Ghosn, the chief executive of the Renault-Nissan auto alliance. Mr. Agassi also appears to be tapping into the anything-is-possible spirit of the times, after the election of the first black American president. 


Until recently, such a goal would have seemed a fantasy. But auto companies are now spending billions of dollars on electric-car projects, with several vowing to have a model on the market by 2011.


Advances in lithium-ion battery technology have also increased the range and reliability of prototype electric models. Mr. Agassi is betting that batteries will become commodity products that can be leased and then replaced on demand in the ordinary course of driving.


Better Place has teamed with governments in several countries to test its switching stations, and has also signed agreements in Hawaii and with a nine-city alliance of communities in the San Francisco Bay Area.


So far, the company is planning for the opening of stations in 2012, and is consulting on how to increase the number of public charging spots for electric cars.


Part of the challenge is to convert existing sources of electricity — like municipal light poles — into charging stations for consumers.


Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco said:-


 “It relegates the concern about running out of electricity to the back of one’s mind.” “What Shai is doing with these switching stations is taking the worry out of charging your car,”


Mr. Agassi, a former computer programmer, has no previous experience in the auto industry, but has been a devotee of electric cars for some time. He owns one of the 1,500 battery-powered RAV4 sport utility vehicles that Toyota built in the late 1990s for testing.


He started several software companies with his father, the last of which they sold to the software giant SAP in 2001. He rose to become the chief technology officer of SAP.






Better Place - battery service exchange & Shai Agassi - Youtube

















Intelligent Battery Support System



European Commission star circle logo  NineSigma, Canada investing in innovation  Technology Strategy Board planet earth logo









This website is copyright © 1991- 2013 Electrick Publications. All rights reserved. The bird logo and names Blueplanet Ecostar and Bluebird are trademarks ™.  The Blueplanet BE3 vehicle configuration is registered ®.  All other trademarks hereby acknowledged. 

 Max Energy Limited is an educational charity.