Project Better Place has agreements with the governments of Israel and Denmark to begin mass deployment of electric cars. Their business plan is innovative. Start with taxis and delivery vehicles in cities, then expand from there. Create charging spots and battery swap stations. Yes, battery swaps. If the battery is low, just quickly swap it out for another one.
Plus, they want to use a cell phone model, which is to virtually give away the phones and generate income from a monthly flat fee. PBP plans to, are you ready, give away the car and charge $550 a month for 18,000 miles a year. This includes the car, battery leasing, and the cost of electricity. And you don’t have to pay for gas.
Deutsche Bank crunched the numbers and said their plan could work even in the US, and at a lower cost per mile than with gas-powered cars. Hey, gas alone for 1500 miles a month with a 20 mpg car is $300 a month when gas is $4 a gallon.
Electric vehicles will be a major part of the transportation future. This PBP venture could help us get there.
TriplePundit has more.
It’s a great idea, but won’t fly in the “ownership society” of the US. Even in a lease system, you semi-own the car while you’re leasing it. In a place already used to public transport, or in a field like taxi’s where the drivers don’t typically own their taxi, this could work though.
One big thing I’d wonder about is insurance. You’d have to make sure people are insured, and how would the insurance base their rates if the selectable fleet has different model and year cars? Generic coverage?
I think their plan is about the same as leasing, one car per person.
BTW, there are places here in S.F., like Zip Car, that rent by the hour if you want. You have a key card, just walk up to the car, the door opens, you drive away. Not sure if their insurance covers drivers, but most auto policies have the option to cover you while driving any car.