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Better Car, Better Air, Better Conscience – But NO Better Privacy

July 13, 2012

For a week I was fortunate enough to test-drive the new Renault Fluence and the new battery stations from Better Place just introduced in Denmark.

And what a treat. Usually I drive a small car, so the Renault was a luxury. Like driving a limo taxi. Big, heavy, fast, grounded, speeding like hell and without any noise – only a low airplane sound, when you let it lose speed (avoid the breaks as much as possible and let it just roll, because then it recharges!) towards a light.

Since I have tried one EV before, the little Buddy, which is lovely only for city driving, this was really something different. A true alternative to the oil polluting car. It does, however, depend on where you are when it comes to your wishes for a car. I never spent a lot of money on cars. I have had a car since I was 18 but it has been smaller cars – all in the lower end. So buying a Renault Fluence would be such a huge step upwards. I prefer to wait until a cheaper car brand turns up being electric. But the certainly I am in for an EV. I want one. NO DOUBT. I would prefer one NOW as I love being first, but it is too much to pay for a car, I believe – even as the daughter of an automobile seller and having owned over 10 cars in my life.

It is also a question of better air. Ususally dogs and kids run around below our thighs sniffing the exhaust from the many cars. Kids and dogs must love EV just like runners and people who are thinking about the air they breathe. Just that fact is enough to convince me. And yes, I know the oil industry is constantly financing new reports showing that there is not much to gain by EVs and many people want to wait till something even better turns up. I think we have to act now. It is so much better for humans doing something meaningful than doing nothing but wait. So get the EV under your radar.

Smart Driving
The Better Place system with lots of chargers and the battery stations and the charger you are getting for your home, when you sign up for subscription, is a convenient system. It takes 5 minutes and 15 seconds to change the battery at a battery station (and many more with a charger), and you never “dry out” because the car´s computer system is really smart. You plot in the address you are going to and it tells you how many percentage of the electricity you will you to go there, so you always know if you have enough. It is calculating your miles on behalf of your previous driving. Are you speeding and breaking a lot or a you usually gliding and driving ECO? If you are two people to share the car you log in everything and the computer knows it is you and your driving pattern is used to calculate how far you can you. And usually you drive longer than calculated. Of course the system is set up to constantly reward you for green driving.

Privacy by Default
I am NOT saying Better Place is the best choice for an EV and a charging/battery system. Because there is one huge issue not solved and which I think can harm Better Place unless they do something about it. They have NO privacy policy. At least I can’t fid it. Better Place has set up a system which is completely surveilling their customers – from dusk to dawn and even more if you are a night owl. The company always know where you are geographically and how loaded with electricity you are. That is big data – valuable big data.

There must be a clear, understandable privacy policy so I, as a customer, is guaranteed that Better Place is never gonna sell my data to anyone else, so I can always demand my data back and demand it completely deleted. Finally, I would like to know if there is a way to disconnect your car completely, so you are not tracked by Better Place. It is a huge sign of confidence signing up for a Better Place subscription when they have so clear access to one´s oil or gold. You deserve to get ultimate security re your data, which is such a sensitive issue and growing more and more sensitive in these day and ages. So privacy by default, please.

Thanks for the ride. I will be back. Do try it yourself. 

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