Mike Miskovsky

CEO and president, InEVit

Energy entrepreneur Mike Miskovsky is bullish on the future of electric vehicles even though he doesn’t think much of today’s electric cars. “They don’t have enough range, they cost way too much, and they don’t last long enough,” he says, and that’s because the batteries aren’t good enough. “The battery is the most expensive part of the vehicle, and in order to service it you basically have to destroy the car.”

The solution is a better battery system, comprised of slide-in “modules” that can be easily serviced and replaced, and Miskovsky thinks he has it. “Our systems are designed in a very clever way to be 30 to 100 percent more energy dense, 30 times faster to manufacture, and easy to replace or upgrade over the vehicle’s life,” says Miskovsky, who has partnered with original Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard in the venture, called InEVit (the first three syllables of “inevitable”). Miskovsky is CEO and Eberhard is chief technology officer. The company’s 26 patents include an improved battery management system, and techniques that enable standard lithium ion cells to safely be packed more tightly together. InEVit plans to freely license the system design and manufacturing processes, while selling proprietary controller chips that make the system work.

The trick will be to convince carmakers to build their vehicles around InEVit’s battery design, which Miskovsky likens to a standard D-cell for the electric vehicle industry. “If you have a flashlight and you haven’t put batteries in it for 20 years, you can drop by any drug store and buy new ones—and the flashlight will still work,” he says. “It should be the same for electric vehicles.”

Miskovsky has a talent for disruption. After Tuck he went to work in new business development at Time Warner, where he launched SI Television, Sports Illustrated’s first foray into digital media. “I sat in meetings in Silicon Valley with kids who were just out of college, some with blue hair, and they were having the time of their lives,” Miskovsky says. “It was one of those moments when a big transition was occurring and I realized I had to be out here.”

A succession of startups followed, notably Zep Solar, which became a U.S. standard for mounting hardware for rooftop solar installations. The key was convincing 16 of the world’s top 20 solar panel manufacturers to redesign their product to mate with Zep’s standards and hardware. “Our system allowed crews on the roof to be up to five times faster, allowing the entire installer community to finally make money reliably,” says Miskovsky. Now he wants to repeat the formula with electric vehicles.

“I’ve already run this play once,” Miskovsky says. “And what it showed is that if you get it right, you can convince otherwise competitive companies to adopt a standard in the interest of something greater: dramatic reductions in costs, allowing everyone in the industry to succeed.”

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