A Glimpse of the Future

The company Better Place is, based on a well defined strategy and action plan, building a transportation system of the future. This company is setting its sights on becoming one of the leading service providers in the electric car industry of the future. With generous funding from visionary risk capitalists and a global financial institution Better Place will not replicate any success formula from the existing car or transportation industries, instead it is looking to become a provider of car transportation miles for consumers and large car transportation companies.

With electric car and battery technologies in their infancy Better Place has identified some of the key hurdles that need to be overcome in order to achieve large scale transformation of personal transportation. The customer will buy its own electric cars, and Better Place will provide batteries as part of a subscription for mileage for the car and Better Place will provide re-charging services via strategically located charging posts at home and at work, in combination with battery-switching stations along major roads for longer trips.

While most of us have an exceedingly vague picture of the future structure and components of the transportation systems of the future, the success of Better Place will be built around a well crafted strategy for the overall expansion of electric car transportation. This in its turn is built on a deep understanding of the function of the various components of an electric car network. This strategy identifies the key success factors of a large scale launch of an electric car system, and the company has developed its overall strategy based on a strategy for each of the key components.

Even the focus markets of the launch have been carefully identified. One of them is Denmark, the country in the world with the highest taxes and fees on the purchase and ownership of fossil fuel cars. In order to facilitate the rapid penetration of fossil free transportation systems, the Danish government, adopting a visionary method for business development on a national level that since the 1970’s has taken Denmark to the global forefront in wind turbine technology, has made electric car purchases tax-free until 2015. This will provide a basis for the penetration of electric cars in the Danish market, which will grow vehicle and battery volumes and concept and systems development to a level where electric car systems will become competitive and possible to launch into markets that do not have the unique tax advantages for electric cars shown by Denmark. With head-quarters in innovation-friendly Palo Alto, California, Better Place is focusing on other markets with unique launch and early growth potential, such as Israel and Australia.

With experiences from the wind turbine industry, where companies located in companies with wind-power friendly governments, and systems for supporting this technology, such as Denmark and Spain, other countries need to expect that the countries that focus on electric cars at an early stage, and the companies that grow strong based on the policies of these strategically aware governments will become more than transitory phenomena in the global markets for clean technology. Instead, countries without well developed strategies to support clean technologies may permanently fall by the wayside and become faced with the difficult task of catching up to compete against the strong and well established global competitors that are now entering the market in these countries.