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February 20, 2012 9:46 am

Inside the Inspiration: How Israel is Overcoming Oil Dependency (VIDEO)

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EVs charging at the Better Place visitor centre at the Pi-Glilot former gas depot in Ramat Hasharon, Israel, north of Tel Aviv. Photo: Bardak.

Iconic Chrysler CEO Lee Iaccoca once said, “We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.” Dependency on oil seemed to be an insurmountable challenge — until one Israeli software executive realized the problem had already been solved.

In this just-released video from the elite charity conference, Michael Granoff discusses how Better Place’s founder and CEO Shai Aggasi took the complex vision for electric cars, made it simple, and made it real in a short span. He includes fascinating insight into the history of making big ideas happen and shares the details of Israel’s involvement in enabling success.

Video: Mike Granoff of Better Place speaks at the NextGen:Charity conference.

Viewers may be surprised at how quickly some of the world’s greatest challenges have been solved, and Granoff, the Head of Oil Independence Policy at Better Place and a serially successful investor, gives a wonderful tour through ingenious moments of problem solving by The Greatest Generation.

Better Place continues that tradition. Four years ago, it was just a concept paper by Aggasi. It’s now real, with the company delivering the first production cars in Israel this past month and contracts to provide electric car networks to California, Denmark, Japan, China, Australia and beyond.

Israel, which has not had the most-stellar history of automobile construction is providing the technology and strategy, with Nissan-Renault handling the car fabrication. The genius of Better Place is that they remove the up-front, significant cost of the batteries by charging for electricity usage and service while maintaining ownership over the expensive cells. Drivers pay for charging the car or for swapping the battery. Battery swaps are done robotically in a car-wash like line, taking less time than it does to refill a tank of gas.

Granoff spoke to the diverse and largely non-Jewish audience wearing his kippah. Perhaps there is no greater inspiration for big solutions than the challenges oil-funded terror has brought to the Jewish people and the State of Israel.

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