New initiative seeks to create a better place for electric cars

The tentatively named startup Project Better Place envisions increasing the market for electric automobiles as a way to wean off the world's dependency on oil and fossil fuels.

The tentatively named startup Project Better Place envisions increasing the market for electric automobiles as a way to wean off the world's dependency on oil and fossil fuels. Project Better Place seeks to deploy stations around the world where people can take their electric cars for battery exchanges. Communicating the technology behind the idea can be challenging, but the company has found a way to condense its concept into a simple analogy. "If you think about the mobile phone model, Better Place is the AT&T or T-Mobile, and Tesla [the electric car manufacturer] is the iPhone," explained Joe Paluska, director of the technology practice at Hill & Knowlton, the company's agency.

Idea: PR will target energy-policy influencers to review the company's model for reshaping the automobile industry. Because gas prices in the US are not yet high enough to generate substantial demand for the project's model, the company is also targeting foreign governments, especially in Europe, Paluska said.

Tools: Leading up to the launch, the company briefed several industry analysts and top-tier business titles, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek. The startup made its debut in New York on October 29 with a press event that included a webcast demonstration of its model. Founder and CEO Shai Agassi also appeared on CNBC to discuss the venture. In addition, Project Better Place has held meetings on Capitol Hill and an event at the National Press Club.

Measurement: Success will be measured by the countries and auto manufacturers that opt to deploy the model. "Our communications objective is to drive real business outcomes," Paluska said. More PR strategies are planned after targeted countries publicly confirm they will be implementing the model, he added.


Organization: ProjectBetterPlace.com
Campaign: Web site launch
PR team: Hill & Knowlton
Other marketing: Web site
Launch: October 29
Budget: Undisclosed

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