I recently attended a lecture held by a Society of Auto Engineers. The main guest speakers were the guy's from Better Place. The sales presentation was very professional, both slick and expensively prepared. I noted that it was a modified version of the presentation I heard delivered at a previous BetPlace presentation to a luncheon for Investment Bankers. this gives me reason to believe that the presentation is a fairly standard sales pitch for Better Place team of pitchmen.
At the end of the presentation, the Host opened the floor to questions from the audience. Naturally, the audience, being engineers was fairly probing with their questions, much to the discomfort of the presenters. I noticed that when ever the BetPlace speakers had difficulty answering a question, they ignore any questions from difficult looking audience members, preferring to answer carefully prepared Dorothy Dix questions from planted supporters. Since I was obviously not an engineer, they initially felt safe in selecting my questions, the exchange is roughly as follows:
Me: Has Better Place considered investing a small proportion of the Billions of Dollars in funds you hope to raise, in helping existing, but struggling EV technology, and makers, to create a market for Better Place?
BP: (condescendingly)there is no acceptable EV technology, that could help BetPlace.
Me: Well what about countries whose citizens could benefit from EV technology today if it were affordable?
BP: We are already trying to do that in conjunction with Israel and Renault/Nissan, but as we told you, we possess the only viable technology and business model .
Me; (irritatingly) But you say that you will only use "green renewable non-fossil energy, how do you achieve that from a nation grid with coal fired input, I mean how do you separate whats green and whats not?
BP: (sneeringly) We already explained, the answer is SOFTWARE!!
Me: Wow some software! But wouldn't the money be better spent on say, small island nations, where existing light weight EV'S, Vans, Buses, Vectrix, bikes etc., are perfectly suited for the low range,and speed requirements,and where Better Place could really design, and operate, guaranteed renewable power stations?
BP; (evasively) I think we had better have a question from somebody else.
Somebody else: (later seen leaving in BetPlace car) Do you think Shah Aggassi will be remembered as the 21 century Henry Ford, or simply the Saviour of the planet!
BP; I glad you you asked that important question, ... (derisive laughter from audience)
Hmmm.. I thought I smell snake oil.
I believe that my view is not without merit.The immediate challenge for EV"s is to prove they can really replace ICE. What better place, (sorry about the pun), than a Small Island Nation, where range and speed are not such important factors. These countries are usually heavily tourist oriented and this would gently encourage huge numbers of people into trying out an EV while on holiday. I have actually experimented with this concept and it works very well. Especially since the initial investment is offset by the maintenance cost.
I believe this was a flaw in the marketing of Vectrix. Mike Boyle had no real interest in such a concept, preferring to market and service Vectrix dealers in the UK and Australia. I will grant him they are both Islands, but they are just to damn big to market a low range unproven product with endless service difficulties. Antigua,Barbados, Phuket,the Cook Islands, Tonga, etc etc,,,,are the perfect proving grounds. These countries produce huge amount of surplus electricity, mostly from oil or coal fired plants. The disadvantages of alternate power technologies for the huge grid demand requirements of industrialised nations, simply don't exist in small island nations. In addition most are blessed with low output demand and ready access to various alternate energy sources.