UPDATE October 6 . I just added this link that points out more of who is involved in this gangrene saga
Today (0ctober 2 2012) it was announced that Shai Agassi was fired as the CEO of Project Better Place after approximately half a billion dollars of losses in the hair brain scheme be an "operational" company that provides swapped out batteries to electric vehicle owners.
The blog below was posted in December 2010 the day after Shai Agassi appeared on Charlie Rose to hype his approach to bring electric cars to the world. Here is a link to the Charlie Rose video of the interview.
If you have 30 minutes to waste you can watch the interview. In summary Shai tells Charlie the following:
Shimon Peres the President of Israel challenged him to give up on being the CEO of SAP to start Better Palce
He stated that every 2 years the cost to performance ratio of lithium ion batteries would halve
He stated that by 2020 China will build 40 million electric vehicles a year
He stated that Better Place needed to market a larger car than the Nissan Leaf and hence they chose the Renault.
Here is my blog from 20 months ago that was titled Dumb Gets Dumber
If one set of lithium ion batteries for a plug in vehicle is not a dumb enough idea some guys have come up with the brainwave that multiple sets of lithium ion batteries should be used for a plug in vehicle. Why the need for multiple sets of batteries? So that one can pull up to a service station that has a robot that quickly extracts the on board battery pack and replaces it with a freshly charged pack. Forget that the first battery pack was unaffordable we can quickly change out that unaffordable pack for the next doubly unaffordable pack.
This is the brainchild of a guy named Shai (pronounced Shy) Agassi and his company called Project Better Place. Well my name for his company is “Lost in Space” and his first name should be “Not So Shy” for the almost billion dollars he has raised from idiots in the investment and government community. Last night Not So Shy was on Charlie Rose on Bloomberg touting his brilliant idea and how the great State of California will soon have 50 taxis that run between San Francisco and San Jose that will use his Lost In Space technology. Great a bankrupt state will have 50 taxis out of a fleet of 20 million private vehicles with multiple sets of batteries that no one can afford.
What really got the hair up on my back was when Not So Shy told Charlie Rose that he just met with the Brazilian Foreign Minister and suggested that Brazil use the ethanol the country produces to generate electricity and not use it for a liquid fuel for vehicles. Here is the link to that Charlie Rose interview http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11323 Not So Shy certainly has thermodynamic chutzpah.
I have opined that ethanol as a transportation fuel is dumb, but at least Brazil produces its ethanol from cane sugar and actually has an economic model for ethanol fuel production. Shai here is a lesson from Thermodynamics 101 and Economics 101. Electric power in Brazil is valued at retail at about 8 US cents per KWh. Ethanol is valued at retail at $2.90 per gallon. There are approximately 22 KWh of energy in a gallon of ethanol, therefore as a liquid fuel ethanol’s value is 13 US cents per KWh. OK boy genius Mr. Not So Shy why would a firm take something that sells for 13 cents then lose half the energy generating power while spending tons of capital and then only get half of 8 cents or 4 cents for your product. This is the same economics as your dumb idea to have multiple unaffordable batteries for a car.
Not So Shy does not really care about economics he cares about the environment of our planet and increasing carbon dioxide. Yes his mission is to save the world. His investors and partners include: A123 batteries, HSBC Bank, Lazard, Morgan Stanley, Renault, and Vantage Point Venture Partners. The only guy missing for the take off of Lost in Space is old Bernie who burned on the launch pad. I plead to my readers not to believe this junk science that is made of the same cloth as Bloom Energy.
It is kind of sad that a guy as smart as Charlie Rose could not ask Not So Shy to explain the second law of thermodynamics and how a second set of lithium ion batteries from A123 that cost $50,000 for the Renault ne marche pas Affluence ZE makes any sense to anyone other than Not So Shy who is the grand wizard behind the Lost in Space company.