Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A Truly Revolutionary Idea - Better Place - The Future of Electric Cars Is Happening Today

Now this is an incredible story about the potential massive revolution that will be made possible by the extreme passion of a very few people. Exciting in the sheer magnitude of its ambition and fact that if it happens, it will genuinely be one of the greatest revolutions in modern time, and the man that is going to make it happen will surely be one of the most influential men of their time. Maybe you already know of Shai Agassi or Better Place, the company that he founded. If not, I sure hope that soon we all will. He has an idea that could just make electric cars a practical reality, not just in 20 years time, but within the next few years. The best thing about his business idea Better Place, is that it is actually becoming reality. Read the full AMAZING article on Wired.

It is a long article and to help all you time starved people I wrote a brief synopsis. Read it, and then you will be inspired to read the main article, and then keep on reading!!

Shai Agassi seems overcomes the major hurdles in making an electric car a reality. Car costs, limitations of battery technology, and investment in infrastructure. While many of the technologies and ideas are not new, he manages to put together solutions to complex problems and interestingly he proposes to apply to the motor and energy industry a similar business model to the mobile phone and telecoms industry, where technology is made accessible at low costs by being subsidised over the duration of a long term contract.

By demonstrating a high potential for profitability he has been able to get major investors on-board. Where easy money is to be made, even the seemingly impossible can happen. In just 2 short years he can count countries, major players in the car industry and even Israel’s largest oil importer is one of his biggest backers and has raised over $1 Billion in investment capital.

Here’s how they will make money.
An electric car costs significantly less than a petrol car to power, and maintain. Lets say it costs €2000 to fuel a petrol car per year, yet it would only cost €800 to use electricity. Betterplace proposes to exploit this difference in energy costs by providing such a good refueling service that it would be able to resell electric energy to the consumer a premium, while remaining extremely appealing as it would still cost a lot less than running a normal car. Do I care that the electricity for my car cost more than for my TV, when I buy it packaged with access to a network of refueling stations, replacement batteries, useful software etc, when I am saving €1,000’s in the process?

He has the right partners on board, and created a win win situation for all the important players.
Car manufacturers - are in crisis and need to invest in improving their future. He has Nissan/Renault onboard. They don’t want the hassle of selling battery technology they know nothing about. This could make them the biggest producers in a rapidly growing market. Oil barrons - they don’t care if they will make more money selling electricity than oil. He got the heavyweight players onboard. People that had the power to snuff out the idea.
Countries - Many don’t want to be oil dependent, others need to reduce emissions significantly. Governments that get behind projects really help mak things happen!

So if people are making money, that is one important box ticker. But this is why it can happen…

Cars are cheaper - Possibly Free!
He removes the battery from the car buying process. The battery is not owned by the car driver, but is leased as part of an innovative fueling service. The electric car without battery is significantly cheaper than a petrol car, and is much easier and cheaper to maintain. So it has an immediate appeal to a consumer, and car manufacturers are happy doing what they do best. The fueling becomes packaged as a fueling serivce that you subscribe to. The cost of the car in full or in part can be subsidised over the duration of a long term contract, meaning that some cars may even be offered for free, much as many mobile phones are offered free if you sign a two year traffic contract. Governmental support will also ensure tax breaks and incentives.

Cars can drive as far as a normal cars
Electric cars do not have the same autonomy of normal cars, as the batteries only last 50 - 100km. So to resolve this issue they propose that owners can recharge at home, but if they need to travel further than the autonomy of the battery, then they simply pull into a ‘fueling station’, where the battery is automatically removed and replaced with a charged battery, without the driver needing to exist the car. So not dissimilar to refueling a petrol car, but a little less dirty. You will subscribe to an innovative and technology driven service. You tell your car where you want to go, and if there is not enough power in the battery, it will tell you where you need to stop to change the battery.

It is being rolled out at country wide levels in two countries.
Massive trials are starting in Israel and Denmark. Israel has the desire (more than others) to not be dependent on surrounding oil producing countries. To reduce oil imports by just 50% would be a big finger up, and improve the economy. Denmark needs to radically reduce emissions and sees this as a simple way to do so. Both are small countries, in which people drive relatively short distances, and would be less reluctant to own an electric car.

It is ecological - and solves another problem
As they can sell electricity at a premium price, it means that they can afford to buy expensive sustainable ‘green’ electricity. So giving a sustainable solution increase investment in alternative energy sources. ALSO most alternative energy sources do not produce energy consistently, i.e. Solar only produces during the day. So energy produced often has to be stored in massive and expensive batteries. An alternative storage method would be to trickle the energy into the parked cars connected to the grid, as it is produced. Then cars that remain connected could trickle the energy back to the grid as it is required.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Best of Diesel:U:Music Podcast

If you are looking to put a big grin across your face, then download The 'Best of Diesel:U:Music' podcast. A FREE new monthly music podcast, featuring 10 blistering tracks from across genres and countries, plucked from the Diesel:U:Music online community.

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Each month Diesel's in house creative team curate a mix of 10 epic, repeat - EPIC tracks (see track listings at end of post), from unsigned and new talents which you really should hear like, Marc Sunderland (UK), Molly Nilssen (Sweden), and the Dancing Pigeons (Germany), all the way through to equally mesmerizing acts like the truly incredible Congolese group, Staff Benda Bilili (see exclusive interview on, and play them alongside some of the most exciting breaking and respected artists of the moment like, Hot Chip, Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li and Damon Albarn. The major artist involvement helps and supports the newer acts by maximising exposure of the podcast for them too, and the podcast becomes another platform through which Diesel can support emerging musicians, in addition to the already established social music community site, the live radio station, world tour and music video contest.

The podcast includes special rare remixes, and demos of previously unreleased tracks. The result is an healthy dose of addictive, iPod ready, eclectic music. The monthly episodes will be complemented by special editions that will focus on individual artists or music genres. Available is an enhanced podcast, for those who have next generation MP3 players and iPods, each track is accompanied with its own artwork and a supporting text written by the artist that gives an interesting and exclusive insight into the background behind the track. To get featured on this “Best Of” podcast, artists can upload their tracks to

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A second podcast, 'Best of Diesel:U:Music Radio' provides interviews, news, special reports and exclusive content from many of Diesel's live radio station DJ's including Lucy Pink, Neon Neon, Supper Furry Animals and more more more - Diesel:U:Music radio.

Track 1: We Have Band - Oh!
Track 2: Gang Gang Dance – House Jam (Hot Chip Remix)
Track 3: Marc Sunderland - Long way to go
Track 4: Eugene McGuiness - Fonz
Track 5: Ex Lovers – Just a Silhouette
Track 6: Hjaltalin – Traffic Music
Track 7: The Vanities – Dolly
Track 8: Milke – Love Get Out Of My Way
Track 9: Grizzly Bear - Cheerleader
Track 10: Dead Cities – Dead Cities

Track 1: Plantlife – We Can Get High
Track 2: Javelin – Oh! Centra
Track 3: Staff Benda Bilili – Sala Mosela
Track 4: HEARTSREVOLUTION – Dance Til Dawn
Track 5: NASA (Feat. Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li) - Gifted
Track 6: Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt – Snowday
Track 7: U-CEF – The Stick (Feat. Damon Albarn)
Track 8: Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision
Track 9: Ra Ra Riot – A Manner To Act
Track 10: Molly Nilssen – We’re Never Coming Home