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Submission + - Big Investors Back Better Place EV Business Model (betterplace.com)

MikShapi writes: Better Place Australia has just secured a major round of investment, gathering 350M$ of 1B$ required for deployment across and between Australia's major urban centers, leading Better Place — a 2-year-old startup — to be currently valued at 1.25B$.

Big investors putting their money on the company and its radical and untested business plan puts clout behind the model, which aims at providing a viable nation-wide solution to move an entire national car fleet off oil, driven by consumer choice, through implementing a mobile-phone-like plan scheme for kilometers, rebating heavy users to subsidize the car itself (real, fast, affordable car, no golf cart) in part or full (not unlike a free iPhone on a high-end cellular plan) (yes, free NEW car!), divorcing the battery from the car, allowing quickdropping (2-minute robotic replacement in the EV-equivalent of gas stations at no extra charge), and put smart charging spots everywhere — home, work, retail.

The Renault-Nissan alliance — Better Place's big auto partner who spent the past two years developing cars for this infrastructure are tooling up for the first ever mass-produced EV with models such as the Fluence ZE and the Nissan Leaf hitting the streets shortly. With infrastructure in place, the other heavyweights will likely follow suit.

To the engineer-minded /.ers who think "BIG 8AM power spikes" (none, due to smart charging), "How much basal power generation can be done from wind & solar" (way more, utilities get huge distributed battery for free), "won't this mean we just have to burn more coal at the back end?" (no, BP will buy clean electrons only) and "Closed Standards?" (no, BP religiously drives the auto industry to open standards, enabling competition) and other big questions, the business model is nothing short of a holy grail as it gracefully addresses the lot.

And now big investors who paid due diligence think so too. 2011 in Israel and Denmark, Australia and West Coast USA immediately thereafter. Some 20-30 additional countries in tow. Google seems to have met its automotive match.

Move over car & oil industries. Let a REAL geek drive.

Leveraging always beats prototyping.