Shai Agassi steps down as CEO of Better Place as company enters new phase
Electric car charging infrastructure provider Better Place has announced that founder and CEO Shai Agassi is stepping down, and will be replaced by Evan Thornley who is currently the CEO of Better Place Australia. Agassi, who launched the company five years ago, is joining the board, and the company is describing the move as a transition from "chapter 1" to "chapter 2" of the company's existence.
Better Place is best known for the quick battery exchange concept, where an electric car driver goes to a battery exchange station and a roboticized system swaps the battery pack for a fully charged one. The company actually offers two services. One is the battery exchange service, in which an electric car can effectively be fully recharged in about 2 minutes. The other is an electric car charging station network, similar to the ChargePoint or Blink networks, where car owners recharge the electric car through the standard J1772 port.
The company was started by Agassi with the idea of "running a country without oil" and making electric cars more affordable and convenient. Stopping the use of oil, and adopting electric transportation, has many potential benefits for climate, environment, and national energy security issues. The company's strategy was to address two chief concerns with electric vehicles: a) the cost of buying an electric car, and b) the recharging time. Better Place's quick battery exchange system also involves leasing, rather than buying, the battery pack, which reduces the purchase price, replacing it with an ongoing battery lease fee.