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Published by:
IBS Center for Management Research (2010)
23 pages
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This case discusses the innovative business model of Better Place, which proposed to offer transportation services to consumers through miles per month subscription plans on electric cars, with the cost of the car being subsidized based on the tenure of the plan. Shai Agassi started Better Place with the ambition of setting up an ecosystem - including a ''smart grid'' of charging stations and battery swapping facilities - for electric cars. These charging stations were to be powered by electricity generated from renewable sources to eliminate indirect emissions due to the operation of electric cars. Better Place also partnered with governments, parking lot operators, and companies to install charging stations. This ecosystem was expected to eliminate the barriers to the mass adoption of electric cars for personal transportation. It received support from the regulatory authorities in Israel, Denmark, Australia, Japan, and some states of the United States and Canada. However, it remained to be seen whether the proposed ecosystem and business model would encourage widespread adoption of electric vehicles, reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, and contain the levels of environmental pollution. While the company intended to make the world a better place by accelerating the transition to sustainable transportation, was its business model sustainable in the long run? This case will enable students to understand: (1) the ecological sustainability as a business opportunity; (2) entrepreneurship, innovative business models, and risks; (3) disruptive innovation in the automobile industry; and (4) stakeholders and their roles in a ''green ecosystem''.


Better Place; Social entrepreneurship; Start-up; Electric cars; Sustainable transportation services; Smart grid; Clean technology; Renewable energy; Lithium ion batteries; Hybrid electric vehicles; Plug-in hybrid; Greenhouse gas emissions; Environmental pollution; Subscription plan; Automobiles
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2010 - oikos Case Writing Competition - third prize winner

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