Agassi Turns Environment Friendly Focus to Mass Transport

Founder of bankrupt Better Place establishes Newrgy, which is likely to provide alternative energy solutions for public transportation.

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Better Place founder Shai Agassi.
Better Place founder Shai Agassi.Credit: Haaretz

Israeli entrepreneur Shai Agassi, whose previous electric car venture was liquidated last year, is back.

His new company, Newrgy, is still in stealth mode, but it, too, will operate in the environmentally-friendly energy field, Globes reports.

Agassi himself outed the company when he participated as Newrgy founder and CEO in a London conference on alternative solutions for municipal transportation at the end of June.

Globes quoted former executives of Agassi's previous company, Better Place, as saying that Newrgy was likely to focus on electric public transportation, especially mass transit.

Better Place, which focused on the consumer market, foundered due to lack of public interest and an unattractive value proposition, but some of the technology it developed, such as the regulation of battery charging, could be included in the offering of the new company.

It is not yet known who will provide the initial financing for the company, though a focus on public transport is likely to involve financing from government and municipal sources.

Before its collapse, Better Place ran several pilot mass transit programs for electrical taxicabs with replaceable batteries in Tokyo and Amsterdam. The programs were considered successful and attracted significant interest from municipalities and governments.

Globes speculated that Newrgy would aim its efforts at government and municipal customers, such as the Greater London Authority, which is considered a global leader in the development of electricity-based public transportation, especially taxis.

There are only 3,000 electrical vehicles and 1,400 charging stations in the city currently, though the Mayor of London set a target of 100,000 electrical vehicles and 25,000 charging stations back in 2009.

The authority is now planning to grant incentives to entrepreneurs developing electrical public transport.

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