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Published on July 28th, 2008 | by Ariel Schwartz


Shai Agassi: The Israeli T. Boone Pickens?

July 28th, 2008 by  

Shai Agassi

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens has received a glut of media attention recently for his plan to develop the largest wind power project in the world. Now the New York Times suggests that Pickens might have a visionary counterpart in Shai Agassi, an Israeli software entrepreneur obsessed with making Israel the world leader in electric cars.

Agassi, along with his company Better Place, have an Israeli government-backed plan to create an electric car program that will give subscribers access to a car, a battery, and outlets across Israel. Subscribers will also be able to swap dead batteries for fresh ones in designated garages.

Better Place will run the smart grid that charges the electric cars. The company is also currently contracting for enough solar energy energy to power the whole fleet, which will roll out next year with 500 cars built by Renault.

But Agassi’s vision doesn’t end with Israeli electric cars.

The entrepreneur has also pitched his ideas to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who plans to ask auto manufacturers to make all new cars sold in the UK either electric or hybrid by 2020. The Better Place subscriber model is being strongly considered by the PM.

With plans to expand even further into Denmark and possibly Portugal, rest assured that you’ll be hearing Agassi’s name frequently in the near future.

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Photo Credit: Better Place 

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About the Author

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

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