Published on Design Revolution (http://www.designrevolution.org)

Better Place --"Sustainable, Zero-Emission Transportation as a Service"

By Joshua Arnow
Created 2009-01-02 23:50

It’s simple. The car has evolved. Gas guzzlers have gone the way of the dinosaur - there’s a reason they call it “fossil fuel.” In their place we have electric versions of our favorite makes and models being developed by established car companies.

And the evolution of the car means the evolution of the entire transportation model. When we eliminate the dependence on oil, we eliminate the environmental and economic damage that came with it.

The good news is we’re evolving into something very familiar. The Better Place business model is one most of us already experience every day - with our mobile phones.

Think of it like this: we pay mobile providers for minute-by-minute access to cell towers connected together in cellular networks. Truth is, we pay comparatively little - or next to nothing - for the phones themselves. After all, what you’re really buying is air time, not a box with buttons.

The same model works for transportation. Just replace the phone with an electric car, replace the cell towers with battery recharge stations, and replace the cellular networks with an electric recharge grid. Now you’re buying miles, not minutes.

When you think of it in those terms, suddenly a seemingly revolutionary business model becomes something a lot more proven - and more than a little appealing.

Why pay for an addictive, expensive and harmful substance like oil when you can simply pay for transportation as a sustainable service? Why produce pollution when you can bring your emissions to zero and produce economic advantage as the only by-product? The proposition sells itself.

• Drivers pay to access a network of charging spots and conveniently located battery exchange stations powered by renewable energy.
• Drivers pay for the miles they drive.
• Cars are made much more affordable - even free in some markets - by the business model’s financial and environmental incentives to add drivers into the network.
• Better Place operates the electric recharge grid that brings it all together.

This is transportation as a sustainable service, with drivers as subscribers, and Better Place as a true “mobility operator.”


Our reliance on oil pitted the economy and environment against each other. But in this new era of sustainable transportation, we bring the interests of people, auto makers, energy companies, governments and the planet, itself, back into balance.

It starts when we switch from the pump to the plug. It seems like such a small change, but it has such profound benefits when you think about it.

For Drivers

For drivers, it means living free from oil while still enjoying our cars:

• Powering our zero-emission cars with affordable, clean energy.
• Experiencing transportation as a sustainable service we can subscribe to.
• Reaping the benefits of a cleaner, healthier environment.

For The Automotive Industry

For the automotive industry, it means moving to sustainable profitability -

• Switching to a sustainable, long-term business model by retooling factories to meet the demands of today’s consumers.
• Securing first mover advantage in the next 100 years of transportation.
• Selling the only car our children will drive - the electric vehicle.

For Energy Companies

For energy companies, it means servicing a whole new market segment created by this sustainable transportation infrastructure:

• Reducing capital expenditures and improving profitability with better load balancing and distributed storage strategies.
• Accelerating the transition to clean energy, serving a whole new breed of customer, and assuring environmental regulatory compliance.
• Securing first mover advantage in a new and rapidly growing market - sustainable transportation as a service.

For The Nations Of The World

For the nations of the world, it means bringing the economy and environment into balance:

• Creating new opportunities for leadership in a new global economic mode.
• Achieving environmental and economic objectives together.
• Benefiting from new jobs created as we build this sustainable transportation infrastructure.

For The Planet Itself

For the planet itself, it means breaking an addiction to oil and accelerating climate recovery:

• Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from the conversion of electric cars alone.
• Reducing emissions even further as the renewable energy industry flourishes.
• Creating whole new industries that benefit the biosphere and bottom lines alike.


The above is From the Better Place company website [1]  

See the Video of Better Place's Vision [2]

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