Better Place is a California-based, venture-backed company that aims to reduce global dependency on petroleum through the creation of a market-based transportation infrastructure that supports electric vehicles, providing consumers with a cleaner, sustainable, personal transportation alternative.
Better Place will build its first Electric Recharge Grids in Israel and Denmark, where the electricity will be generated by solar power and wind power, respectively. Both governments have enacted policies, which create a tax differential between zero-emission vehicles and traditional cars, to accelerate the transition to electric cars. Better Place plans to deploy the infrastructure on a country-by-country basis with initial deployments beginning in 2010. The company has said it is in talks with more than 25 additional countries around the world.
In January 2008, Better Place announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Renault-Nissan to build the world's first Electric Recharge Grid Operator (ERGO) model for clean transportation in Israel. Under the agreement, Better Place will build the electric recharge grid, and Renault-Nissan will provide the electric vehicles. In 2009, Better Place expects to deploy hundreds of charging stations as the company moves toward wide-scale deployment in 2011.
Mercedes-Benz has said it is in talks with Better Place about the potential for cooperation. The company is also reportedly engaged in discussions about creating electric recharge grids in the State of Hawaii and the city of San Francisco.
Better Place picked Massad Oz Management & Supervision Ltd. to manage the pilot recharging infrastructure deployment for the company's electric car venture. Massad Oz will set up the recharging infrastructure in Tel Aviv parking lots after the 2008 summer.
On June 26, 2008, Shai Agassi testified before the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, chaired by Representative Ed Markey of Massachusetts. The hearing, titled “$4 Gasoline and Fuel Economy: Auto Industry at a Crossroads,” dealt with the future role of the auto industry and the federal government in fighting gas prices and the fuel economy standards proposed in response to the enactment of the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007.