Electric Car Evangelist Agassi Sees Battery-Powered Future

nfluential politicos such as Robert Kennedy Jr. and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom hope Agassi will soon have the ear of President-elect Barack Obama

Published: 20-Jan-2009

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Shai Agassi didn't grow up dreaming of revolutionizing the auto industry by replacing gasoline-burning cars with electric ones.

"I wasn't a greenie. I didn't do cars," he said. "None of these things happened from thoughts I had when I was 6 years old."
Nonetheless, Agassi, the 40-year-old founder and chief executive of Better Place, has emerged as a driving force in the effort to move beyond gasoline-burning automobiles. His Palo Alto, Calif., company has global plans to build the recharging infrastructure needed for electric cars to go mainstream.

After launching in 2007, Better Place spent 2008 inking deals in the Bay Area, Israel, Denmark, Australia and Hawaii. In short order, the intense Agassi has forged relationships with governments and partnered with big utilities and the world's No. 4 automaker, Renault-Nissan.

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