Google Launches RechargeIT Plug-In Hybrid Car Initiative and Unveils Solar Installation
Google.org to fund more than $10 million to accelerate plug-in hybrid and vehicle-to-grid technology
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.- Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), today announced the RechargeIT initiative (http://www.rechargeit.org) that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and oil dependence by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (“plug-ins”). As part of this initiative, Google.org awarded $1 million in grants and announced plans for a $10 million request for proposals (RFP) to fund development, adoption and commercialization of plug-ins, fully electric cars and related vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology.
In addition, Google Inc. announced that it has switched on the solar panel installation at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters, which will help the company reduce its environmental footprint and power its plug-ins with clean solar electricity. At 1.6 megawatts - and with an electricity output capable of powering approximately 1,000 average California homes - the Google project is the largest solar installation to date on any corporate campus in the United States and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world.
At today’s event, Google teamed with PG&E to demonstrate the bi-directional flow of electricity between plug-ins and the electric grid. “Clean energy technology can dramatically shift how we make and use energy for our cars and homes by charging cars through an electric grid powered by solar or other renewable energy sources, and selling power back to the electric grid when it’s needed most. This approach can quadruple the fuel efficiency of cars on the road today and improve grid stability,” said Dr. Larry Brilliant, Executive Director of Google.org.
The RechargeIT Initiative includes several elements designed to advance plug-in development and commercialization, including:
* Grants: Google.org announced grants to the following organizations:
o Brookings Institution (http://www.brookings.edu): $200,000 to support a spring 2008 conference on federal policy to promote plug-ins;
o CalCars (http://www.calcars.org): $200,000 to support its work to educate the public about plug-ins;
o Electrical Power Research Institute (EPRI) (http://www.epri.org ): $200,000 to support its plug-in research and development program;
o Plug-In America (www.pluginamerica.org): $100,000 to raise public awareness and advocate for plug-in transportation;
o Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) (http://www.RMI.org): $200,000 to enable RMI to launch the design of a practical plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, with additional support and collaboration by Alcoa, Johnson Controls, and the Turner Foundation;
o Dr. Willett Kempton, University of Delaware (http://www.ocean.udel.edu/cms/wkempton): $150,000 for megawatt scale vehicle-to-grid research and implementation planning.
* $10M RFP: Later this summer Google.org will publish a formal request for proposals (RFP) on our website, focused on investment opportunities in companies and projects accelerating the commercialization of alternative transportation that reduces vehicle fossil fuel use and climate emissions. We are looking to invest approximately $10 million in technologies and companies featuring plug in hybrids, fully electric vehicles, vehicle-to-grid capabilities, batteries and other storage technologies, and the application of renewable energy and fuels to green vehicles. We believe that our investments in green vehicle technology commercialization, coupled with additional R&D and policy grants, will help accelerate progress in addressing the climate and energy challenges of today’s transportation sector.
* Plug-In Data Project: To demonstrate the potential of this new technology, Google has partnered with A123Systems/Hymotion to convert a small fleet of hybrid cars into plug-ins and published preliminary performance data at www.rechargeit.org. The experimental fleet of plug-in Prius models has averaged 74mpg to date, compared with 41mpg for the test fleet of non-plug-in Prius hybrids.
* Google Fleet: Through a partnership with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, the Google Fleet is a program designed to support alternative commuting through a free car-sharing program that will be offered to Google employees. The program will eventually expand to include 100 plug-ins as they become available.
“Google is committed to using its resources to help solve the global climate challenge,” said Dr. Brilliant. “Google.org is a hybrid philanthropy, bringing together the active engagement of the broader Google corporation, as well as investments in for-profits, traditional grants, policy work, and public information. RechargeIT brings together all of these elements to help accelerate progress on plug-ins. By demonstrating new clean energy technologies and how they can be connected to the grid, we hope to spur demand and encourage car manufacturers to make these vehicles commercially available on a large scale on an urgent basis.”
Today’s news closely follows Google’s sponsorship of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (http://www.climatesaverscomputing.org), which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive new targets for energy-efficient computers. Climate Savers and today’s RechargeIT illustrate Google’s commitment to reduce its environmental impact as a company and to protect the environment.
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