It doesn't matter how many electric vehicles are on the road--they're virtually useless without some sort of EV charging network infrastructure. That's where Silicon Valley electric vehicle startup Better Place comes in. Better Place envisions a network of EVs made by Renault-Nissan that can be powered up in its charging stations using a cell phone-like pricing scheme. The company is so confident that it recently announced a prediction that in 10 years time, half of all cars sold in countries with Better Place infrastructures will be EVs with swappable batteries. That prediction seems increasingly possible now that the company has raised $350 million for its charging network from a consortium led by HSBC.
The cash, which comes on the heels of a $200 million round of investments in 2007, will help the company test its technology in full-scale trials over the next year. It will also assist Better Place in getting its infrastructure projects in Israel and Denmark off the ground by 2011.
Better Place CEO Shai Agassi, number three on our Most Creative People of 2009 list, once asked "How do you run an entire country without oil, with no new science, without government assistance, and in a time frame that's fast enough to get off oil before we run out of planet?" The answer, it seems, is to convince investors of your worthiness.