Friday, April 17, 2009

Shai Agassi at TED

"Batteries not included": A bold new paradigm that Shai Agassi is talking about is getting ears to it. Cleve Thompson, for the New York Times, wrote about it today.
What do I think of it? In a sense, it is a very good idea. However, implementation is the key. How is it going to be implemented? Shai Agassi mentions that his model for selling cars will work like cell phones do in the US today. (Horror of horrors!)
The obligatory question is whether we will have competing proprietary battery replacement facilities. If yes, why should the government not tax it like everything else instead of rewarding it. If no, and if it is meant to be free and open standards (and open source in the essence that Shai's company shall not keep any secrets from any other company), how is he going to make money out of it?
I mean look at Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:JAVA). Please refer to Chapter 3.7.1 in Bill Thompson's exposition where he says: 
"It is as if McDonalds built a park (with no branding or marketing) and then put a restaurant by the entrance in the hope that people would buy burgers while visiting."
I wonder what Shai Agassi's thinking is in this matter. Will car companies need to pay him to make compatible car batteries and systems that will work with his visionary grid of swappers? Until we know the details, sadly, we must refuse the deal.
Please click here for the video (high resolution, MP4).

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