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PHOTO CAPTION: Shai Agassi, founder of Better Place.

Don't Believe A Word About Electric Cars or Lithium Shortages

Lithium isn't finite oil, it's transistors, reports this Fortune magazine article about Shai Agassi and Better Place.

Published: 16-Jul-2010

FORTUNE -- Shai Agassi wants to put the world into electric cars whose batteries can be swapped out at one of his futuristic "gas" stations. But just as the cells in flashlights and laptops need lithium to run, so do -- swappable batteries or not -- electric cars. And some are now saying that will make lithium, in our increasingly battery-dependent society, increasingly hard to come by.

There are rumblings in the press that the auto industry switching from petroleum to lithium is simply shifting from one finite resource to another, and even that the U.S.'s real reasons for invading Afghanistan were to secure its massive deposits of the alkali metal. Also, electric skeptics think there might be trouble accessing enough lithium to fuel the shift. Agassi, unsurprisingly, is not among them.

"That was one of the biggest myths perpetuated by the oil guys," says Agassi, the founder and CEO of a company called Better Place, which is positioning itself as the architect of the network needed to support swappable battery cars and all the attendant infrastructure.

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