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Google.org Launches RechargeIT Plug-In Hybrid Car Initiative and Unveils Solar Installation

18 June 2007

Google
One element of the RechargeIT initiative is collecting comparative performance data from Google’s fleet of two converted Prius plug-ins. Click to enlarge.

Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google Inc., introduced its RechargeIT initiative to accelerate the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. 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 1.6 MW solar panel installation at its Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The Google solar 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 an event at its Mountain View headquarters today, Google teamed with PG&E to demonstrate the bi-directional flow of electricity between plug-ins and the electric grid.

The RechargeIT Initiative includes several elements designed to advance plug-in development and commercialization, including:

  • Grants. Google announced grants to the following organizations:

    • Brookings Institution, $200,000 to support a spring 2008 conference on federal policy to promote plug-ins;

    • CalCars, $200,000 to support its work to educate the public about plug-ins;

    • Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), $200,000 to support its plug-in research and development program;

    • Plug-In America, $100,000 to raise public awareness and advocate for plug-in transportation;

    • Rocky Mountain Institute, $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;

    • Dr. Willett Kempton, University of Delaware, $150,000 for megawatt-scale vehicle-to-grid research and implementation planning.

  • $10-million RFP. Google.org will publish a formal request for proposals (RFP), focused on investment opportunities in companies and projects accelerating the commercialization of alternative transportation that reduces vehicle fossil fuel use and climate emissions.

  • 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.google.org/recharge/. 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.

The announcement closely follows Google’s sponsorship of the Climate Savers Computing Initiative, which aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive new targets for energy-efficient computers.

June 18, 2007 in Plug-ins | Permalink | Comments (18) | TrackBack (0)

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Glad to see someone like google get involved in PHEV.

They should stick a 2.5 - 4MW windmill on the campus as well. Then they could have green electricity "at night".

Nice to see them putting money into the PHEV organizations - that will be money well spent.

Very little evil will be done by this act.

Ya know, google is one of those very few companies i'm glad is absolutely stinking rich.

I can save Google lots of money since I already know the results of the research. PHEV are DOE while EV are MIA.

While the company that is building the solar system is expecting a 20% capacity factor from the Google solar system, I am expecting a 4 % capacity factor from the Google solar system based on previous failure. That company has demonstrated the ability to provide online, real time results but have chosen to not to document failure.

This site provides an example of real time results for a utility scale PV system: http://greenwatts.com/pages/solaroutput.asp

Google will continue to provide pictures of their ‘largest’ system because that is what is important in the virtual world.

There a PHEV band wagon coming down the street and Google is jumping on. It would be great to have all of Corporate America jump on including Big Auto and Big Oil as long as they lost the thoughts of controlling the battery patents and slowing down development.

mahonj - They should stick a 2.5 - 4MW windmill on the campus as well. Then they could have green electricity "at night".
Not sure if there is enough wind there in Mountain View, though they are very close to Shoreline Park which is a great place to windsurf during the day. At night, winds tend to die down significantly.

Dave R, thousands of windmills should be built in SF Bay and along the coast from Santa Barbara to Eureka. It is about time that California got what they asked for. Especially now that I sail somewhere else.

They averaged 41 mpg in their Prius test fleet???

Wow. That's low.

Are they driving lots of short trips, or driving their cars really hard? Or does it have something to do with the terrain or climate?

I average 45 to 60 mpg depending on the conditions.

"Ya know, google is one of those very few companies i'm glad is absolutely stinking rich." - Amen

If you are serious about IT Altairnative.com has domains suggestions such as PluginFleet.com,RechargeadnGo, Rechargeanddrive.comand EleConvert.com. Names I believe will be other giant companies like Microsoft, GE,Alcoa would consider if they plan on following Google's initiative. Think Future Now at altairnative.com

kit p, I have over 60,000 on my Prius resume and I have NEVER gotten near 41 mpg. I avereage over 50 around town exept in the winter and about the same on the highway at 70mph. I just don't get it.

I wonder if they provide electrical outlets for employees with EV's or PHEV's.

I won't comment on the negative points about solar except to say that I've put up more than one solar system and every one I've worked on has paid for itself, and is still working. The first I put up in 1982, and it's still running very well.

I just wished they had funded Bussard's Fusion reactor (look up "Should Google Go Nuclear")

Ben: I heard the Navy picked up his work for another year.

Greg-
Yes, Google has put in recharging stations for their employees.

Altair Nanotechnologies owns this space if V2G becomes a reality! They just got independent verification from Aerovironment that their battery will accept enough power in 10 minutes to drive a 5-passenger pickup truck at 60 mph for over 2 hours. The better news? They have cycled this battery over 25,000 times full to empty(68 year life at once/day) in their inhouse lab and getting independent verification of that now with Aerovironment and UCal-Davis.

Altair proves 10min recharge and 25,000 cycle survivability by a third party and EEStor proves they have high purity ingredients by a third party, soooo can anyone tell which one is snake-oil and which one has a legitimate chance of changing the world?

Kit P, your cynicism and pessimism will come back to haunt you. Solar is already working, continues to work better every day, and must work to serve the needs of a society that will only too soon run dry of fossil fuel. Solar is not perfect, so what? You think it's standing still, and will never be any better than it is today? Who are you to proclaim it's dead? Have you ever even spent a minute in a research lab? Do you even know how to use a soldering iron, a lathe, or a microscope?

The US Patent Office has granted more than 7,200,000 patents... how many of those patents were filed by someone that was optimistic? How many do you think were filed by someone as pessimistic as yourself? How much pessimism will it take you to become successful, happy and admired?

There have been 12 posts from individuals on this thread that were positive... One, by someone that had nothing positive to offer. I would love to check ten years from now to see where their personal attitudes have taken each of them.

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