Hawaii Endorses Better Place for Electric Cars


Better Place and Hawaii have joined forces. This week the State of Hawaii and the Hawaiian Electric Company endorsed a plan to build a new renewable transportation system based on electric vehicles with swappable batteries and a “smart” battery recharging network.

The Better Place plan solves the current problem with electric cars, which is slow battery recharging as well as availability. The solution is to use existing electric car technologies together with an internet-connected web of recharging stations (set up in the thousands).

Drivers of the recharging network subscribe to the service, paying for access and mileage:

the network idea will be appropriate first for “island” economies that typically have significantly higher energy costs, and then will become more cost-competitive as it is scaled up.” The New York Times reports, “We always knew Hawaii would be the perfect model, the typical driving plan is low and leisurely, and people are smiling.” Better Place founder Shai Agassi, said in a phone interview.

“Hawaii is a relatively small market with high energy costs. The state has about 1.2 million cars and replaces 70,000 to 120,000 vehicles annually. Drivers on the islands also rarely make trips of more than 100 miles, meaning there will be less need for his proposed battery recharging stations. Part of Mr. Agassi’s model depends on quick-change service stations to swap batteries for drivers who need to use their cars before they have completely recharged their batteries.”

The plan is to use renewable energy sources like solar and wind to provide energy for a new class of vehicles.


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