Shai Agassi

  • Founder and CEO, Better Place

Shai Agassi is the founder and chief executive of Better Place, a leading electric vehicle services provider. He is focused on one of this century’s biggest challenges, moving the world from oil-based to sustainable transportation. Agassi works... More

Shai Agassi is the founder and chief executive of Better Place, a leading electric vehicle services provider. He is focused on one of this century’s biggest challenges, moving the world from oil-based to sustainable transportation. Agassi works with government leaders, auto manufacturers, energy companies and others to make his vision—zero-emission vehicles powered by electricity from renewable sources—a reality in countries around the globe.

This vision was inspired by a profound question posed at the World Economic Forum in 2005, “How do you make the world a better place by 2020?” With a passion for tackling large-scale challenges, Agassi sought to answer this question with a pragmatic solution to free cars from oil, reduce harmful tailpipe emissions, and usher in an era of sustainable transportation.

Agassi founded Better Place and, in 2007, officially launched the company. In 2008, Israel became the first country—and The Renault-Nissan Alliance the first carmaker—to embrace the Better Place model of building open network infrastructure to enable mass adoption of electric vehicles and delivering transportation as a sustainable service. Denmark, Australia, California, Hawaii, and Ontario have followed suit. Today, Agassi and Better Place are in discussions with many countries, carmakers and other potential partners around the globe.

Agassi’s visionary leadership with the Better Place model has been recognized widely. TIME Magazine named him to the 2009 TIME 100, the world’s 100 most influential people, and one of TIME’s “Heroes of the Environment 2008.” Fast Company placed him third on its “100 Most Creative People in Business” list. Most recently, Scientific American Magazine named him to the 2009 Scientific American 10, a select group of 10 people who have demonstrated outstanding commitment to assuring the benefits of new technologies and knowledge will accrue to humanity.

Before founding Better Place, Agassi was president of the Products and Technology Group at SAP AG and a member of the software company’s executive board. He led global development of SAP’s product line and portfolio of industry-specific solutions.

Agassi remains an active member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders of the World Economic Forum, where he focuses on climate change, transportation and other key issues. He is also a member of the Copenhagen Climate Council and the advisory board of the Corporate Eco Forum.

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Shai Agassi's Presentations

TED2009 February 2009

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A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars: Forget about the hybrid auto -- Shai Agassi says it's electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

A bold plan for mass adoption of electric cars: Forget about the hybrid auto -- Shai Agassi says it's electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

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DLD 2008 January 2008