Although most attention at the Frankfurt Show is on the new vehicles, many of them—from VW, from Renault, etc.—have electric power. So it isn’t entirely surprising that Shai Agassi, Better Place Founder and CEO, was there, touting what he argues is the first fundamental change in what is powering motor vehicles in 101 years, starting a switch to electric power since Henry Ford established internal combustion engines as the dominant design in 1908.
Better Place is essentially an infrastructure provider. That is, it is not a vehicle manufacturer but is in business to facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles, whether this means setting up recharging stations or providing the means by which the batteries in vehicles can be better controlled. This is putting the company in partnerships with Flextronics for recharging stations, Intel for its Atom processor, Microsoft for its Windows Embedded, and Continental, to build the AutOS operating system.
Here’s a bit of evidence of how key companies Better Place is working with are behind what the company is pursuing:
“There’s a natural technology intersection between enabling powerful, yet energy efficient computing platforms and the drive toward electric transportation. We see an obvious fit for the Intel Atom processor in the Better Place solution to enable a unique, connected experience for the next generation of electric transport.”--Staci Parmer, director of in-vehicle infotainment for Intel.
“At Microsoft, we are committed to software and technology innovations that help people and organizations around the world improve the environment. Better Place’s vision for accelerating the transition from oil-based transportation to a sustainable mobility model will help to draw in a new ecosystem of players and innovations all aimed at fighting climate change. We view electric cars as roaming consumer electronic devices, which have the potential to move from niche product to mainstream, and we’re excited that Better Place is developing their solution using Microsoft technology.”--John Fikany, Microsoft, VP, Commercial Sector Industries.
“We at Continental are pleased that we are doing our part to help Better Place on its way to success. The connection between the car, the Better Place network and the driver is ensured by the head unit we will develop. We look forward for the start of series production.”--Helmut Matschi, President of the Interior division and member of the Executive Board of Continental AG.