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USA: Five business models to boost electric cars

WASHINGTON–Everybody wants an auto battery breakthrough that will lead to longer driving range and lower prices than what’s found with oil-powered autos. But while scientists are busy at work on the technology, there are a number of clever business ideas to make transportation cleaner and cheaper.

To a large degree, the toughest part of making electric vehicles take hold is sorting out new business models, according to speakers at last week’s annual conference of the Electric Drive Transportation Association. Here are examples of how existing technology is already being used and of the approaches being explored to redefine the auto industry.

Sell electric vehicles like consumer electronics
To buy a car, most of us do a little research online and then walk into a dealership. With the introduction of new electric drive technology, that may not be enough anymore. As automakers come to market with electric cars, they’re expanding their partners beyond the dealership lot.

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Following similar arrangements made by General Motors and Nissan, Ford and Mitsubishi have signed on Best Buy’s Geek Squad to aid in home charging station installation for their electric vehicles due this fall. The Geek Squad won’t be doing the electrical installation of chargers, but they can do an initial evaluation and provide customer support.


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