|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.