How are we Going to Beat Oil?

In case you haven’t heard, Better Place is the effort to completely wire-up an electric car infrastructure. It’s starting in Israel, and Denmark and Australia have also signed up. Tim O’Reilley sat with Better Place founder Shai Agassi for a solid half hour discussion at the recent Web 2.0 conference.

While at PresenTense, I heard Mike Granoff, the first investor in Better Place, tell a story of the formation of the company. While still at SAP, Shai pitched his plan to get the world off oil to Israeli president Shimon Peres, wanting the Israeli government to take up the charge. Peres called him late that night, and told him that it wasn’t going to happen that way. A government couldn’t do it; something like this is the job of a business man – “It’s your job”, he said. Shai protested that he was near the top of SAP, one of the most important software companies in the world. Peres responded – “I don’t know what you’ve got in the pipeline over there, but it better be some damn good software.” The next week, Shai left SAP.

The conversation jumps into the brass tacks of how the technology and the business will work. A lot of my questions on the business model were answered here. It’s a great to see Shai Agassi in action, and really worth watching the whole thing.

I’m psyched to trade in my gas guzzler – really psyched.