See the future of automobiles. Check this out:
One question: How do I get a job there?
(Source: Wired.) Agassi reimagined the entire automotive ecosystem by proposing a new concept he called the Electric Recharge Grid Operator. It was an unorthodox mashup of the automotive and mobile phone industries. Instead of gas stations on every corner, the ERGO would blanket a country with a network of “smart” charge spots. Drivers could plug in anywhere, anytime, and would subscribe to a specific plan—unlimited miles, a maximum number of miles each month, or pay as you go—all for less than the equivalent cost for gas. They’d buy their car from the operator, who would offer steep discounts, perhaps even give the cars away. The profit would come from selling electricity—the minutes.
There would be plugs in homes, offices, shopping malls. And when customers couldn’t wait to “fill up,” they’d go to battery exchange stations where they would pull into car-wash-like sheds, and in a few minutes, a hydraulic lift would swap the depleted battery with a fresh one. Drivers wouldn’t pay a penny extra: The ERGO would own the battery.
Agassi envisions a new kind of infrastructure, with ubiquitous charge stations, that is not only simple and logical but potentially profitable, too. No technological breakthroughs were necessary. No new inventions. It was as if he’d discovered a trapdoor beneath both the gasoline industry and the auto industry, a combined $3 trillion market.
AutoOS, the Better Place operating system, would transform the transportation grid. Here’s how.
A special key fob linked to the car indicates the status of the battery. If the logo is throbbing blue, the car is fully charged.
The driver unplugs and heads out. The software analyzes the first few minutes of driving and guesses the destination based on past history: “Work?” it asks. The driver speaks a response and the system determines how much energy is needed for the day.
During the commute, the location-aware system finds and displays three open parking spaces near the office that are equipped with Better Place charging spots.
An automatic arm extends to plug into the car. The spot then communicates with the control center, which anticipates the driver’s energy needs so as to allocate power economically. It might, say, limit consumption during expensive peak hours. The driver gets a text: “80 percent charged.”
An unexpected meeting comes up. The driver enters a new route, and AutOS determines there is insufficient charge to get there. The driver orders a battery swap.
AutOS finds the most convenient battery-exchange location and books a bay. The old battery gets lowered onto a hydraulic plate, and the car moves forward on a car-wash-style track. In five minutes, a fully charged battery is in place.