Historically, there have been car companies and then other businesses that customers of the former have to use in order to make their products work. The car companies and those other businesses are ostensibly separate.
Or, said more simply: There are car companies over here and gasoline companies over there.
Today in Copenhagen, Denmark, things have changed. Renault the car company and Better Place the electric vehicle services provider opened the first Better Place Center.
What this means is that customers can go to the BPC and order a Renault Fluence Z.E., an electric vehicle, a full-featured car with a 185-km range. And while there they can sign up for a fixed-price package for their energy needs.
For example, for those who drive more than 40,000 km there is an “all-you-can-drive” plan for 2,995 Danish kroner ($560) per month that provides full access to the Better Place battery switching stations (the Fluence Z.E. is designed so that a battery can be replaced in about five minutes) as well as access to the Better Place public switching stations.
There are other plans for those who drive less, depending on needs.
Renault and Better Place have calculated that battery charging (and switching) has a cost advantage compared with cars that need to refuel with gasoline, and because of the subscription plans, customers are able to lock-in a fixed price for energy (versus the fluctuations—nowadays fluctuating upward—at the gas pump).
As Better Place CEO Shai Agassi put it, “With our partners Renault and DONG Energy, we are delivering on our promise to offer a more sustainable, convenient and affordable mobility solution that will help drivers avoid the pump at a time when petrol prices are at an all-time high.”