Monday, March 10, 2008

Project Better Place update

Project Better Place has been quietly making news in recent weeks following the excitement surrounding its January press conference in Israel. Shai Agassi, however, predicts a deal between the company and a national government "within 100 days”. Perhaps we should be bracing for another major announcement from Agassi and Better Place.

Shai Agassi profiled in the Economist. Is Japan next?

Shai Agassi was interviewed by the Economist for an article detailing the trend of executives switching from the computer industry to cleantech companies. He is featured alongside Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures. The article discloses that "having bonded successfully with Shimon Peres and Ehud Olmert in Israel, Mr Agassi confidently predicts another deal between Better Place and a national government 'within 100 days'."

Might Japan be the next country to sign an agreement with Project Better Place? Shai Agassi was in Japan at the end of February, alongside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and spoke at a business forum intended to build contacts between Israeli and Japanese executives.

Two Israeli partners selected to implement electric recharge grid

Electric car venture Project Better Place has picked two Israeli companies to develop and install car recharging stations in Israel: Aran Research and Development Ltd. and Nekuda DM Ltd.

Aran R&D and Nekuda DM are industrial engineering design companies with experience in product development and electromechanical design. The car recharging infrastructure will involve 500,000 recharging points to be built across the country in the coming years.

Project Better Place Israel CEO Moshe Kapliski said, "Testing of the charging points will begin this year, and hundreds of stations are planned for installation during 2009.

Chief Scientist ready to pay electric car companies

"Globes" reports that the Office of the Chief Scientist has published a call for proposals to collaborate with Renault SA under the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor's cooperation program with multinationals. Companies deemed suitable to collaborate with Renault will receive Chief Scientist grants covering up to half the R&D budget for an approved project. Renault will provide matching aid, as well as technological advice, applications tests, use of the company's laboratories, and other services.

The call for proposals is targeting companies that are developing technologies and applications for improving the performance of electric car engines, energy efficient car air conditioners, rapid battery recharging and replacement systems, longer life batteries, and other fields.