I’m happy to see the Better Place guys haved inked a deal with California mayors to build an electric car network for the Bay Area. The last time I talked about them, they were just getting rolling in Israel and Australia.
I’m not yet convinced they’re going to overhaul the auto industry, but I’m certainly not in agreement with the many detractors who dismiss it outright. The key here is they’re actually going out and doing it, not sitting in a board room and kicking around theories of why this will or won’t work. They also have timing in their favor with the oil problem and the major US car manufacturers facing bankruptcy.
Gas prices may be down now, but for how long? Now that people know $4/gallon was outrageous, they’re not going to be eager to pay it again. Truck and SUV sales are in the crapper, and unfortunately for the auto industry, that’s where all the profit is. A friend of mine just purchased a brand new Dodge Ram for $16,000 under sticker, and I just got a letter from my local dealership practically begging me to come in and look at their excessive inventory. They even told me how someone drove off with a brand new Jeep with $14,000 in rebates! A cash hemorrhage combined with the unlikelihood of a government bailout means the competition is going to be lower than ever for companies like Better Place to step in.
So again, good idea? Bad idea? We’re about to find out.
And better we do it now than in 20 years when the oil’s getting scarce and we have to scramble for other options.