Shai Agassi left SAP earlier this year to start Better Place.
"How do you take a country off oil?" is the business problem he's trying to solve. In his model, you are charged for the miles driven and not the battery. The price of a battery and electricity is $0.06/mile for an automobile. In his startup's model, the battery is not part of the purchase price of the car. He will build the network and will purchase electricity to charge batteries. Israel and Denmark are introducing significant taxes (60% - 180%) of the purchase price of gasoline-powered cars as an incentive to drive the adoption of electric cars.
Renault-Nissan will manufacture the initial eletric cars that will be used on Shai's electric network. The cars will arrive between 2010 and 2014.