Shai Agassi: We aim to take 1% of car sales in Israel

As the Better Place electric car venture officially launches in Israel, its founder spoke to Globes editor in chief Hagai Golan on Globes TV.

"It’s as though you get a Mazda 6 for the price of a Mazda 3, a wonderful car at a down to earth price, and the desire to make the world better, to become independent of oil." Thus Shai Agassi, the entrepreneur behind the Better lace electric car venture, explained why people will by buy an electric car, in a Globes TV interview with Globes editor-in-chief Hagai Golan. Better Place officially started marketing this week. Agassi said that Better Place's proposition to customers was "an irresistible combination."

Asked how he reached the idea of the electric car, Agassi said that it started with the oil problem. "I examined the question how we can end the world's dependence on oil. It started with how to solve the problem of peace in the Middle East by technological means. People say it can't happen."

As for his definition of success for the project, Agassi said, "Reaching 1-2% of car sales in Israel will be phenomenal success. This means that if around 15,000 to 18,000 cars are sold in Israel each month, and we take 1%, the world will understand that something amazing is happening here. Our second goal is to make our car one of the top five sellers in Israel."

Responding to criticism of Better Place's pricing, that it was reminiscent of mobile telephony companies, Agassi rejected the comparison. "We realized that the consumer needs something very simple," he said. "I know that today I pay NIS 7.5 per liter for gasoline. We said to the consumer, why not pay NIS 5.5? No fuel station is prepared to make a deal like that, and this is something that the consumer understands. It's simple. Everything is included: the electricity, the charging installation, the battery, everything as simple as could be."

Agassi pointed out that five out of the six leading vehicle leasing companies in Israel were already working with Better Place, and were delivering its cars.

Asked about the range of the vehicle (the Renault Fluence ZE) Agassi said, "I haven't yet got stuck, and I have two electric cars parked at home."

"I check the price of gasoline every morning," he added.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 18, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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