Leading Danish energy company DONG Energy and entrepreneur Shai Agassi's Project Better Place have signed a letter of intent to introduce attractively priced, environmentally friendly electric vehicles (EVs) in Denmark, the energy firm has announced on its website.
National daily newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports on its website that the two firms are investing DKK 200m (USD 42.3m) in the project.
Agassi's electric vehicle scheme, complete with a nationwide network of battery recharging and replacement stations, has already been introduced in Israel and involves a partnership with Renault-Nissan which will supply advanced lithium ion battery-powered cars offering similar performance to petrol engine cars, but with the big environmental advantage of zero emissions of CO2 and NOx.
Shai Agassi says in the press release: “Together with DONG Energy, Project Better Place will ensure an environmentally clean and sustainable approach to energy and transportation. Existing technology, combined with our unique business model and scaleable infrastructure will provide a financially viable solution to significantly decrease CO2 emissions.”
DONG Energy CEO Anders Eldrup comments that the project opens up a new avenue for storing surplus electricity from wind turbines, since EVs are typically charged at night when the exploitation of available power is generally low. Project Better Place is particularly well suited to Denmark, since the country generates a significant proportion of its electricity from renewable energy sources, and leads Europe in its use of wind energy.
The initial contact between Project Better Place and DONG Energy was originated by Invest In Denmark. Both businesses are members of the Copenhagen Climate Council, a multidisciplinary forum with members from all parts of the world, working on establishing a global agreement at the UN Climate Change conference (COP15) to be held in Copenhagen in 2009.
”It is interesting that Better Place has chosen Denmark as a ’proof of concept’ test market and probably also the future location for launch of the environmental project. This places Denmark on the world map once again as an innovative and environmentally friendly country where advanced and sustainable energy projects are being developed,” says Ole Frijs-Madsen, Director of Invest in Denmark under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
”Invest in Denmark identified the project early in 2007, after which we contacted the initiator Shai Agassi and began dialogue regarding the Better Place project. This dialogue resulted in a visit in August 2007, when Agassi met representatives from municipalities and ministries, in addition to commercial partners including DONG Energy. It is good to see that the efforts are now resulting in Denmark becoming the first European country where the electric car concept will be launched – and we look forward to following the development of a collaboration that potentially can benefit the Danish environment, Danish jobs and the Danish environmental profile abroad,” says Ole Frijs-Madsen.