Aug 11, 2009 4:52 pm


Finally real (vs manufactured) good economic news. GM's Volt to Get 230 Miles Per Gallon. Even 200 miles would make me happy as it materially improve America's economic and strategic position. Following 9/11 Americans understand only too well the downside of their Middle Eastern oil addiction and the role the steep rise of oil prices played in the current economic malaise. As Joseph Lazzaro points out:

Here's the economic reality: Every $1 per barrel rise in oil decreases U.S. GDP by $100 billion per year and every one cent increase in gasoline decreases U.S. consumer disposable income by $600 million per year.

I know it is premature to run out to buy an electric car though I promised myself to hold one to my old ones until such becomes available and Bolt at the moment is much too expensive, ~$40,000. Still, progress is being made and perhaps it is time to invest in battery filling stations of the kind soon to be tested by Shai Agassi in smaller markets who is partnering with Renault (is that the reason the administration wanted Chrysler to partner with Renault?) build a ~$20,000 car.

When I asked Better Place founder and CEO Shai Agassi what exactly he’d accomplished in the last two years, he smiled and demurred “cars take time.” Indeed, while he’s managed to convince two countries to let him roll out his network of charging stations and a major car maker to make as many cars as customers demand, he’s still two years away from widely opening the service up to customers in his test markets of Denmark and Israel.

But the challenge critics have seized on the most is his plan to offer not only battery charging at Better Place stations, but robots who can completely replace your battery in less than a minute. Better Place finally debuted the technology on May 13 in Japan, and Agassi says he ran the machine 1,000 times in one day— just to prove to naysayers it really worked.

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